The New England Patriots used the final pick of the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Coming in at number 32, he was expected to be a major player in the offense immediately.
However, injuries slowed down that role. Harry ended up appearing in less than half the games (seven) and did not always exactly play the biggest part in the offense when he was in.
That being said, Harry still had flashes of brilliance, as well as moments where he proved he was still a work in progress. So how exactly did his 2019 season go? Let’s take a look back and try to grade the New England first-round pick’s rookie campaign.
As mentioned, Harry appeared in just seven games for the Patriots in the 2019 regular season. That led to his role and stats being somewhat diminished. However, you have to look at the numbers in a vacuum. And if we’re being honest, the numbers were not all that great. Harry had just 12 receptions (on 24 targets) for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Those are bad stats.
That being said, you also have to look at the quality of his play. Harry showed he can be a great red-zone target, and will only get a lot better as he heals and gets accustomed to the NFL. His route running and hands will only get better, and with his size and athleticism, there’s every reason to believe he will be a star.
It also helps Harry that the Patriots are in the playoffs. His regular season is over but the year is not. Harry has a chance to rewrite his rookie year with a strong postseason run. If he ends up looking like a star in the playoffs, this goes from a lost rookie season into exactly what they needed.
Harry could still prove before the postseason is over that he is indeed the star that they can hand the torch off to at the receiver position. For now, though, he had an injury-prone, underwhelming rookie season. I considered giving him an “Incomplete” grade simply because of the severely limited amount of playing time.
He did show some strong positives though and gave the Patriots something to build off of. Due to that, he squeaks by with a passable grade of a C-. It’s nothing spectacular but it shows that he has things to improve upon and still loads of potential.
Don’t be surprised if Harry goes out in his sophomore season and boosts that grade in his second year considerably. In fact, don’t put it past him to boost his grade this very postseason.