Well, so much for 19 drafts of not emphasizing the wide receiver position. I guess this just goes to show that if you live long enough and keep having to reload a dynasty often enough, sooner or later you’ll see everything.
As I said when I previewed the wideout prospects, no team has devalued the position as much as the Patriots have. In the Belichick Era they’ve drafted a total of 16 WRs, with half of them in rounds 5, 6 or 7. And only three of those selections have been in the top 65. And until tonight, they’ve never taken a wideout in the 1st round.
So that should tell us how highly they regard N’Keal Harry. So much so that they passed on much more highly regarded players at the position who broke the NFL Combine such as DK Metcalf and AJ Brown, both of Ole Miss, who are still on the board.
Even though I thought that going into this draft that receiver was a huge priority, I’ll need to be much more awake and slightly more sober to fully process this decision. But until then, here’s what I wrote about Harry at the beginning of the evaluation process:
N’Keal Harry, Arizona St.6-2, 228, 4.53
Unless I’m missing somebody, Harry is about to become the entire population of NFL players born in the nation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. While he’s not an explosive player, he feeds off contested catches, comebackers and back shoulder throws. He’s been largely considered a potential Day 2 pick thanks to his toughness and pro-level body control when fighting for balls. But word is he’s dropping down draft boards as personnel guys aren’t seeing suddenness in and out of his breaks or explosiveness. The comparisons to Devin Funchess aren’t helping. But in a short passing/controlled offense, he could definitely find a role.
Compares to the Other Leading Brand: Michael Thomas
So my quick, overly tired, slightly drunken reaction is that N’Keal Harry gives the Patriots the big body weapon that we can only hope Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas will become and Chris Hogan was never going to be.
So as the NFL continues to evolve into a league of giant, half receiver/half tight end hybrids, the Patriots have now given Tom Brady three: Gordon, Thomas and Harry. And in another 24 hours we’ll know if they’ve added the traditional tight end they are sorely lacking. Until then, #InBillWeTrust