With the No. 32 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Patriots selected N’Keal Harry, wide receiver out of Arizona State. Physically imposing jump-ball receiver with deceptive speed and explosiveness who lacks in the agility department but starred at Arizona State since his true freshman season in 2016. Good, not great with the ball in his hands, Harry is a load to bring to the turf and can, in some instances, make defenders miss in space. Low-end WR1 who could flourish as a big slot at the next level.
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Pete Prisco: I watched every one of his games and believe me it pains me to give this a ‘C+,’ but I just think there were better options. One thing when you look at the Patriots is they don’t play fast outside, they needed to get faster. Maybe they expect Josh Gordon to come back at some point, but, for me I would have taken Parris Campbell or one of those guys, a faster, more athletic receiver. I don’t love this pick.
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Dave Richard: N’Keal Harry is a good, smart, NFL-ready receiver with great size and power. He’s also a good route-runner — the way he could quickly turn toward his quarterback on his route impressed me. He’ll be a big target for Tom Brady, but not one who delivers with speed. Yes, he can make plays with his feet but it’s his physical nature that makes him good. He’ll also help in the run game as a blocker. I am sure he’ll get picked in every single Fantasy draft this summer but it shouldn’t be with anything more than a late-round pick. He’ll be a middle- to late-round choice in long-term formats and enters the top-five conversation in rookie-only drafts.
NFL comparison: Marques Colston
Chris Trapasso: Here’s a quote from Drew Brees, featured in an ESPN article, after Colston’s first game with the Saints. “He’s a big-play receiver. He’s a possession receiver, he’s a throw-it-up-and-let-him-jump and-get-it receiver.” That is precisely the type of pass-catcher Harry is, and while he isn’t a dazzling, separation creator as a route runner, he is surprisingly nimble after the catch and plays with powerful leg churn to carry defenders for extra yardage as he’s finally being tackled. Colston is still the Saints all-time leading receiver and quietly crushed it from his rookie season all the way through his prime with six 1,000-yard campaigns. The big high-pointer finished with an average seasonal stat line of 71 catches, 975 yards, and 7.2 touchdowns in his 10 NFL seasons.
Ryan Wilson: Harry became the ninth true freshman in Sun Devils history to start the season opener. He finished that season with 58 receptions for 659 yards and five touchdowns. As a sophomore, Harry had 82 receptions, 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. And in 2018, Harry had 73 catches for 1,088 yards and a career-high nine scores.
Among all FBS wide receivers, Harry ranked 21st in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus, and he was 26th in their deep pass catch rate metric.
Ryan Wilson: Harry has great hands, can line up anywhere on the field, and he effectively excels in the screen game. His size makes him a tough matchup for any defensive back and most linebackers. The big concern is with his ability to separate, but he regularly wins the contested-catch battle.
Ryan Wilson: Play speed will give NFL teams pause. Harry also needs to do a better job winning at the line of scrimmage, either with footwork or better hand usage.