New England Patriots newly-traded for wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is battling an injury that could potentially keep him out for a couple of weeks. Coupled with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett also dealing with injury, now is a perfect opportunity for rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry to step up for a surprisingly stagnant Patriots offense.
Harry was taken in the late first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, with the hopes that he will be a difference maker for the Patriots. His season took a quick turn that landed him on IR. But, Harry is back and looking to make some plays in his second career NFL game.
While at Arizona State, Harry caught 213 passes for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has big-play potential, especially with Tom Brady throwing him the ball.
New England is struggling to generate offense with its lackluster running game and meager pass protection. Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn is back for the team this week, which will allow for Brady to be more comfortable in the pocket as he looks for Harry and wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Harry is an absolute tank for a wide receiver at 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds. Harry’s size and athleticism will allow Brady to look for him in the red zone on 50/50 balls, like how former tight end Rob Gronkowski made a difference.
Harry is also a speedster with the opportunity to make big plays in the open field, whether it be in passing scenarios or in the return game.
The biggest thing though for Harry is the fact he currently has a huge opportunity to make a difference in the Patriots’ passing game. Not many rookies have the opportunity to be the next man up with so many down and relieve their quarterback.
Harry becoming a consistent threat for the Patriots would force teams to back off Edelman, as well as open up the running game.
“I thought N’Keal competed well,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Monday. “There were some good things; there were some other things that we’ll have to clean up and he’ll improve on. But it’s good to have him out there, good for him to get an opportunity to play.”
There is no doubt that Brady will be looking for Harry more often with the injuries plaguing the offensive side of the ball.
It might be a slow progression for Harry to become a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, but the tools and opportunities for success are there for the young receiver to shine.