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Bill Belichick thinks New England was ‘fortunate’ N’Keal Harry was available

Bill Belichick, N'Keal Harry

It goes without saying that the New England Patriots are high on rookie N’Keal Harry. In April, the Arizona State product became the first wide receiver the Patriots selected in the first round since the 1990s. Tom Brady has turned a countless number of also-rans and afterthoughts into quality receiving options during his time in New England, but the Patriots apparently thought enough of Harry to use a first-rounder on a position normally occupied by inexpensive free agent additions and low draft picks.

But even that reality, apparently, doesn’t quite accurately convey just how fortunate New England feels to have drafted Harry. As former Arizona State coach Todd Graham tells it, Bill Belichick would have considered selecting him even higher in the first round if the Patriots had the opportunity.

“‘When I talked to coach Belichick the night that he drafted N’Keal, (Belichick) told me, ‘Man, we were so fortunate that he was still there,'” Graham said, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “They were so glad he was still available. They had him graded a lot higher than where he was taken in the first round.”

Harry was one of the most productive players in the country during his three seasons with the Sun Devils, earning Freshman All-American honors before being named First Team All-Pac 12 as a sophomore and junior. Last season, he caught 73 passes for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns.

One of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft, Harry blew up the NFL combine, and has frequently been compared to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.