Odd Man Out: Patriots Have ‘No Use’ For Bust Receiver
Infamous first-round bust N’Keal Harry is facing an uphill climb to retain his spot in an improved New England Patriots wide receiver room.
FOXBORO — N’Keal Harry has replaced Aaron Dobson as the greatest bust wide receiver in modern New England Patriots history.
In the latest roast article regarding the Patriots’ 2019 first-round draft bust, USA Today remarked that the team had “no use” for the receiver anymore.
Since being drafted three seasons ago, Harry has gone on to put up a whopping total of 598 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in three seasons. In comparison, former Tennessee Titans and current Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver AJ Brown – taken 19 spots after Harry – took just 12 games as a rookie to surpass that number.
Because Harry was a first-round choice, his production is even worse than Dobson. He flamed out after being drafted in the second round in 2013 and catching only four touchdowns in three seasons.
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One reason why Harry doesn’t fit into New England’s roster this season is that the wide receiver room is simply much better than it’s been in prior years. The team didn’t lose any productive names from last season while adding a big-framed technician in Devante Parker and a speedy Z-receiver in rookie Tyquan Thornton.
In addition to the dependable Jakobi Meyers, crafty Nelson Agholor, and electric Kendrick Bourne, the team simply doesn’t have enough space to accommodate a receiver of Harry’s minuscule production.
In addition, Harry’s lack of a true archetype makes him an uncomfortable fit. Though he showed the ability to “box out” smaller opponents in college as a jump-ball receiver, he has struggled mightily to produce against the stronger defenders the NFL has to offer.
Due to his inability to generate separation, Harry’s reliance on physical catches combined with his inability to actually catch the ball with his hands has led to a below-subpar career thus far.
After years of clamoring for the move, Patriots fans will likely be vindicated this offseason; Harry will most likely be cut or traded before the start of the 2022 NFL season. With all the negativity the first-rounder has received over the last few seasons, a change in scenery might be just what he needs to unlock another level in his play.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.