Bills: Harvin brings an X-Factor
It may be something of a broken record at this point, but Percy Harvin brings the kind of unique skill set to Buffalo that can stress a defense like few other players. Too much gets made of his versatility to line up as a wide receiver, or in the backfield as a running back, and not enough about what exactly makes him such a troublesome weapon for a defense to neutralize – his immediacy, burst and acceleration.
Harvin primarily gets the ball either on a handoff or via quick passes. That isn’t particularly rare in today’s NFL, but what he does after getting the ball in his hands is – there is no thinking time, and zero hesitation. Harvin turns and instantly bursts to space, changing angles for defenders who are used to offensive players sizing them up before trying to beat them. Harvin’s acceleration and playmaking ability can create holes that other players can’t, and if nothing else, he maximizes yards after the catch in ways most players don’t.
In that respect he possesses a similar value to that carried by Wes Welker for years in New England. Harvin operates in slightly different ways to Welker, but the benefit to an offense is the same. Buffalo already have deep threats and big play weapons at receiver, such as Sammy Watkins; and have added some real firepower to their backfield with the trade for LeSean McCoy; but Harvin brings an x-factor to the team that needs to be respected.
All this of course is if, and it is a major ‘if’ at this point, he can keep himself both on the field, and out of trouble with his teammates and coaches, something that has blighted his career and helps explain why he is now with his fourth team in as many seasons.