Based on the scouting report given Friday by his former college coach, the New England Patriots should be very excited about wide receiver N’Keal Harry, their top 2019 draft pick.
Harry, who at 32nd overall was the highest receiver ever drafted by Bill Belichick’s Patriots, played at Arizona State under Herm Edwards, the former New York Jets head coach and ESPN analyst. At 6-foot-2, 228 pounds and with an innate ability to make contested catches in traffic, Edwards compared Harry’s skill set to that of former Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant.
“(He’s) a very competitive player,” Edwards said on WEEI’s “Mut & Callahan.” “He reminds me a lot — and I don’t like to get into comparing guys — but if you look at his height, his size and probably his speed, similar to Dez Bryant when you look at him.
“Same body build, the ability to go up and really fight for the football. He wins 90 percent of the contested balls, not afraid to go over the middle, has really good running skills when he gets the ball in his hands. You can see that on some tape.”
That’s a valid comparison. Bryant was almost exactly the same size when he entered the NFL in 2010 (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), and their results in the 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds for Harry; 4.52 for Bryant) and vertical jump (38 1/2 inches; 38 inches) were nearly identical, as well.
Bryant had the much better broad jump (133 inches to 122), but Harry was significantly faster in the short-area quickness drills (4.28 seconds to 4.48 in the short shuttle; 7.05 seconds to 7.21 in the three-cone).
Harry downplayed these similarities during his introductory conference call Thursday night.
“I have a lot of respect for everybody that has played at the NFL level,” the 21-year-old said. “I have so much to learn, I have so much to handle coming into the game, coming into the NFL. It’s hard to really give a comparison.”
Harry was a versatile weapon for the Sun Devils, lining up both on the perimeter and in the slot. In addition to the 22 receiving touchdowns he recorded over his three collegiate seasons, he also rushed for three touchdowns, scored on a punt return and even threw a touchdown pass.
In 12 games as a junior in 2018, Harry caught 73 passes for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns, displaying impressive physicality and athleticism both at the catch point and with the ball in his hands.
“He can play inside and outside,” Edwards, who took over the Arizona State program before last season, said on “M&C.” “We moved him around a little bit. He didn’t play inside a whole lot (in 2017), and I kind of moved him around. I wanted to get the ball inside to get some matchups. He’s a competitor. I am talking every day. He fits the mold.
“Every day is a work day for him. He takes the field trying to get better. Doesn’t like losing anything. He’s built that way. He’s an emotional guy. He gets emotional at times, but I think that is just maturity. You got yourself a good football player. There’s no doubt about that.”
Harry joins a new-look Patriots receiving corps that also features Julian Edelman, Dermaryius Thomas, Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington, Maurice Harris, Braxton Berrios, Damoun Patterson and special teamer Matthew Slater.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images