The New England Patriots used the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft on who they hope to be their No. 1 wide receiver of the future.
But is there any chance the future is now for N’Keal Harry in Foxboro?
There are a lot of question marks regarding New England’s WR corps heading into the 2019 season. One of the perceived certainties, however, is that Julian Edelman will sit atop the depth chart. After all, Edelman has developed an unbreakable bond with Tom Brady over the past 10 seasons and is fresh off an MVP performance in Super Bowl LIII.
Edelman in all likelihood will be Brady’s go-to target in the upcoming campaign, but Nate Burleson believes Harry will pose a legitimate threat. As such, the former NFL wideout thinks the Patriots will feature the most heated position battle of any team in 2019.
“I’m going with the Patriots. Julian Edelman: Tom Brady’s best friend, Super Bowl MVP, fantastic talent. Y’all know how I feel about Julian. Hall of Famer in my eyes,” Burleson said Tuesday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.”
“N’Keal Harry is in town, and I feel like N’Keal Harry even though he’s young, even though he understands he’s at the Patriots and he’s gonna wait his time and wait his turn, he wants to be Tom Brady’s best friend. He wants to be Tom Brady’s No. 1 target. Not to mention, Julian Edelman should get paid. He’s in contract negotiations with the Patriots, kind of? I’m not sure they want to extend his contract and break him off because the Patriots do what the Patriots do, which means they let guys go toward the end of their career. N’Keal Harry will come in and immediately be one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. So the quarterback competition/battle is N’Keal Harry vs. Julian Edelman — who will be Tom Brady’s favorite target this season?”
Expectations seemingly are growing by the day for Harry, who’s drawing comparisons to some of the league’s best pass catchers. That said, getting comfortable in New England’s system is a highly difficult task, and the 21-year-old has his work cut out for him in trying to reach the same chemistry level that Edelman has with Brady.
A fierce competition battle shouldn’t be viewed as a negative either. All of the work in training camp, preseason and regular-season practices only will make both Edelman and Harry better and in turn, benefit the Patriots as a whole. Egos are left at the door at Gillette Stadium, which has paved the way for unparalleled success for the franchise over the past two decades.