At this point I would have to say Harvin, but I think next season is what would make the decision for me. We'll see if Crabtree rebounds from his surgery, and continues to show growth, and how Harvin adapts to a new team and rebounds from his injury, etc.
One comparison is just looking at the statistics. They both came in to the league the same year, and Harvin has played one game this season Crabtree none. So to date Crabtree has played 3 more games than Harvin. With Crabtree logging 3 more games he has caught 21 fewer passes with 17 more targets. Additionally, if you take Harvins contributions as a kick returner, and his rushing stats to date Harvin has contributed more with fewer opportunities. To me, this goes in Harvins favor.
Another comparison is to look at their growth comparison. Havin came into the league playing fairly well, won rookie of the year, and has put up pretty consistent numbers and shown pretty good growth though each of the years, up to having an MVP type season last year prior to injury. Crabtree came in to the leage with really high expectations, and played fairly well through his first 3 years, but overall did not meet expectations. He showed tremendous growth last year, especially when the team changed QB's. He looks to be on his way toward meeting expectations he came in to the league with if he continues to show the growth he showed last year. I'm not sure how to score this one. These are also tied to the offense, the QB, and the teams they were playing with. San Fran fans would argue that Crabtree was held back with Singletary, Alex Smith, and the team prior to the coaching regime change, then QB change the last half of last season. Harvin had Favre for his rookie season, then a handful of QB's after Favre got hurt, Ferotte, Tarvaris Jackson, then Christian Ponder. So that may be a wash.
Another comparison that most of the SF fans are making is in the injury history department. This might be a little more interesting than most on here are listing, (with the comments that Harvin is made of glass, etc.). It looks to me that both players have a similar injury history since joining the league in 09'. Harvin had his migraine issues his rookie year. This to me is more of an illness than an injury, and he hasn't shown any signs of recurrence in the last 3+ years. Since then he has missed games with an ankle injury last season that was a contact injury with ligament damage. He also has missed games this season with his hip injury, which was a non contact injury that required surgery and cost him 10 games. Crabtree had a non contact foot fracture in 09' that impacted the combine, and pre draft crap, I'm not sure if it would have cost him any games in his rookie season if he didn't hold out?? He had a broken foot in 11', and a torn achilles tendon in 13'. I'm not sure that 3 non contact injuries can be considered one freak injury as some have listed on here. All that being said, going back further, Harvin had a serious surgery on his heel in college that they believed was the cause of a lot of previous injuries going back to high school. I don't believe Crabtree had any serious injuries in college? So that would tip in Crabtrees favor. The other is build, Harvin is very slight, Crabtree is a lot bigger dude, I would expect Harvin would be more apt to sustain contact injuries just based on his build, but that's just speculation. I think the injury history is actually close, but would lean in Crabtree's favor.
Another item of note is that these guys are kind of an apples to oranges comparison. Crabtree is a #1 outside WR. Harvin is more of a slot guy, but will play outside on occasion. So, the question would be which you weigh more based on your teams needs, and the value each player would add. I think right now Crabtree would be more valuable to SF than Harvin would, and I think it's the opposite for Seattle. To me, being a Seattle fan, Harvin fits better right now, and when you add in his versatility as a kick returner, and his play with the ball in his hands, it tips the needle for me in Harvins favor.
On a quick side note, it was interesting watching Harvin on the sidelines this last weekend. He will be interesting to watch over the next couple of seasons. I sit behind Seattles bench, so watch a lot of the player interactions, treatments, etc. Watching Harvin this last game, I kept having one word pop into my head...INTENSE. I don't know if it was just because he hasn't played and was itching to get into the game, but the guy literally stalks the sideline. He was constantly in Carrols ear, and was constantly grabbing the other WR's, and Wilson to discuss the game. It worked, because Carrol relented and he had a terrific return, but I could see how he and Childress and/or Frazier and Ponder had issues. He seems to be a very intense dude, that will be interesting to watch when things aren't going well with how Carrol and Wilson handle him and vice versa.
Sorry for the long diatribe. Slow day at work.
[ Edited by maltz88 on Nov 20, 2013 at 1:01 PM ]