By Grant Flood
On July 6th, it was reported by Patriots insider, Mike Reiss, WR, N’Keal Harry was “not a lock” for the Patriots’ 53 man roster heading into the 2021-22 season. No surprise there. The 32 overall pick in the 2019 Draft was disgruntled about the news so much he requested a trade hours later. Harry earned his first-round selection by the New England Patriots thanks to three stellar seasons with Arizona State showing tremendous speed and talent leading to a 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. From 2016-2018, Harry tallied 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 213 receptions, however, in the NFL, Harry hasn’t figured out Josh McDaniels’ playbook, with a measly 45 catches totaling 414 yards and 4 touchdowns. Advanced statistics show Harry has been open only 25% of his single coverage targets which is 99th out of 100 in the entire league!
In 2019, the highly anticipated rookie paired up with the GOAT, “TB12,” caught a dismal 12 passes on 24 targets for 105 yards, 2 touchdowns, 8.8 yards per reception, and an underwhelming 7 first downs. Often enough, Brady expressed frustration after each drop. One moment that stood out was the game against the Texans in 2020 when Brady lost his composure with Harry and fellow rookie, Jakobi Meyers after Harry’s lone target resulted in an interception. Meyers continued to improve whereas Harry stayed stale.
Things pretty much remained the same in his second year with Cam Newton at the helm, Harry racked up 33 catches on 57 targets for 309 yards, 2 touchdowns, 9.4 yards per reception, 15 first downs, and a lost fumble. Not even a fresh start with a new face could get the second-year receiver on track. To think the Patriots missed out on drafting touchdown picks such as DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, or Deebo Samuel, instead, opting for the “King of Drops”.
Here’s My Take on SimBull NFL:
Price as of July 13 – July 14: $44.15
Let’s make one thing clear, N’Keal Harry should not be a deciding factor on whether to buy or sell the Patriots this upcoming season. All signs are pointing to New England bouncing back from their lackluster 7-9 season after drafting QB, Mac Jones, acquiring a new WR core in Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne along with TE’s, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith. There is no need to fret about the retirement of the “Playoff Warrior,” Julian Edelman, or that castaway who requested a trade, Meyers will continue to develop his third season and build stronger chemistry with Cam Newton (or down the road, Mac Jones), so don’t be surprised if he is the wide receiver one. Another factor in buying Patriots stock is the overall improvement on defense after finishing 7th in points against, they acquired DE, Matthew Judon (Baltimore Ravens), SS, Jalen Mills (Philadelphia Eagles), DT, Davon Godchaux (Miami Dolphins), and the return of OLB, Kyle Van Noy (Miami Dolphins), and MLB, Dont’a Hightower (opted out due to Covid-19). There is simply no room for an underachieving receiver to hold back a playoff-caliber team, the hourglass is running short on the former Arizona State star.
There are three major benefits moving on from N’Keal Harry:
#1: Reduction of lost yardage
#2: Higher completion percentage for the quarterback
#3: More points on the board
Can you guess what Bill Belichick’s top priority is this season?
Hint: A win in Week 4!
Belichick is not one to doubt two years in a row.