University of Oklahoma receivers coach Jay Norvell knows a thing or two about Marvin Harrison. Norvell was Harrison’s position coach with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 through 2001, a time period during which Harrison made three Pro Bowls.
Norvell also knows about Lions second-round pick Ryan Broyles. Broyles was a wide receiver at Oklahoma from 2007 through 2011, and Norvell coached the Sooners’ wideouts in Broyles’ final four seasons.
Norvell sees a similarity between the two players.
“[Broyles] is very similar to Marvin in his intellect and the way that he sees the game,” Norvell told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “His mind is always racing at 100 mph, trying to evaluate the next step, the next play, the next opportunity. And that’s the way Marvin was. He was always surveying the field and making split-second decisions before they happened. That’s an ability.”
The Lions’ biggest initial concern for Broyles is his recovery from a torn ACL. While that kind of injury can cost a player explosiveness and playing time, Norvell hinted that toughness and the ability to overcome injuries are two of Broyles’ strengths.
“He broke his scapula two years ago against Miami and he came back in like two weeks and played against Texas and really played his tail off,” Norvell explained. “Had a huge play, about 60 yards, and he was really out there with one arm playing. But it just shows his competitiveness and toughness. He’s highly, highly competitive.”