N’Keal Harry was a bit of a surprise pick by the New England Patriots last season in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. After years of choosing not to take a wide receiver in the first round, Bill Belichick finally changed his mind. However, many fans and media members alike were surprised that he chose to take Harry ahead of DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, and others.
Following his first year, the expectations are sky-high for Harry. He missed a big chunk of the season due to injury and was inconsistent when he did play, but showed enough flashes for fans to get excited about him.
When everything was said and done in 2019, Harry had caught 12 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He only caught two passes for 21 yards in the Patriots’ playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Despite the underwhelming numbers, there is a ton of hype surrounding the 6-foot-4 and 225-pound wideout out of Arizona State. He has the body and physical ability to become something special. Harry also possesses a great work ethic and the desire to be a star.
Looking ahead to the upcoming 2020 NFL season, the Patriots are going to need a big year from Harry. Tom Brady left town to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New England has been left with Jarrett Stidham as their likely starting quarterback.
All of that being said, let’s take a look at three early goals for Harry in his second NFL season.
3. Stay Healthy For The Entire Season
First and foremost, the Patriots need Harry to stay healthy and on the field. They were able to weather the storm a bit last year due to the presence of Brady. However, with Stidham as their starter, they are going to need all the weapons possible for him.
Harry only played in seven games last season. New England tried to beef up their receiving corps by signing Antonio Brown, but we all know how that went. Brown played just one game with the Patriots before being released due to ongoing off-the-field issues.
With Julian Edelman still the No. 1 wide receiver, the Patriots need a big body who can make big plays for their young quarterback. Harry could very well be that guy if he can stay healthy and on the field.
2. 1,000 Receiving Yards, 10 Touchdowns
Secondly, the young wideout should be looking to boost his statistics in a big way. A first-round wide receiver should be able to make a big leap from year one to year two. Harry would be making that leap if he can accomplish this goal.
Racking up 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns would be exactly what the doctor ordered for the New England offense. He would give Stidham a huge target capable of making big plays. With his size, Harry should be a massive threat in the red zone.
Leaping these numbers is going to be no easy task for the young wide receiver. It will take a lot of hard work and some luck, but he has the talent to achieve them.
1. Become The Clearcut No. 1 Wide Receiver
Finally, with Edelman still the top wide receiver on the depth chart, the Patriots need a young player to step up. It would not be surprising to see Edelman leave town at some point in the near future. That leaves Harry as the obvious choice to become Stidham’s top target.
The good thing about having a young quarterback and wide receiver is that they can grow and develop together. Harry was drafted in the first round because Belichick believed he could turn into a star. It’s time for Harry to start showing the potential that his head coach and general manager saw in him.
If Harry can stay healthy and take the statistical leap from the first two goals, it will be apparent that he is the team’s new No. 1 wideout. That would be a major positive for a franchise that just went through a brutal offseason.