04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Colts picks: 7/253 - Chandler Harnish, QB, 6-2, 219, Northern Illinois...Indiana native who was the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Good athlete who could play special teams if needed. - The Sports Xchange
A perfect fit for Northern Illinois' spread-option offense, Harnish passed and ran his way into the Mid-American Conference record books as a four-year starter.
Harnish improved throughout his career, which culminated with his winning the MAC's Offensive Player of the Year and setting the school single-season record with 4,324 all-purpose yards in 2011 -- a total that ranked third in the nation behind only Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Houston's Case Keenum.
While scouts can't help but be impressed by Harnish's gaudy statistics, he isn't viewed as a top prospect. With the exception of his impressive running skills, Harnish possesses only average size, arm strength and accuracy. He's a classic field general, however, whose poise late in games helped earn Northern Illinois comeback victories throughout his career, including against Ohio in the MAC Championship and Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl to finish his career.
He's a resourceful quarterback whose intangibles could help him earn a roster spot and eventually compete for playing time in a rhythm passing offense that allows him to attack defenses with his feet.
Positives: Athletic quarterback who is a threat to leave the pocket and gain positive yardage at any time. Possesses very good vision as well as balance, elusiveness and deceptive speed and power as a runner. Quick set up and delivery. Appears to have the arm required to make NFL throws. Throws intermediate crossing routes over the middle with good zip and shows good to very good touch on intermediate and deep balls away from the defender. Improved his mechanics throughout his career. A classic field general. Clear leader on the field and has engineered several late-game comebacks. Earned the MAC's Vern Smith Leadership Award in 2011.
Negatives: Shorter than scouts would like. Completed 61.7 percent of his passes as a senior but has only zip-code accuracy overall. Consistently forces receivers to adjust their routes to catch passes, eliminating many opportunities for yards after the catch. Average arm strength. Can make every required throw but doesn't possess the arm strength to zip balls past alert defenders in good position. Was effective in this scheme despite rarely being asked to make NFL-caliber throws. Will have to make the adjustment to taking snaps from under center. Missed six games over the 2008-09 seasons due to a sprained foot, knee. Small hands for the position (8 3/4").