FOXBORO, Mass. — After standing out in spring practices, it was worth questioning if New England Patriots wide receiver Maurice Harris would have as much success when the pads came on for training camp.
So far, the answer is yes. Harris leads fellow Patriots pass-catchers in receptions during team drills by a wide margin.
“He’s learned well,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday night. “He’s played multiple positions. We’ll see how it goes. We still have a long way to go. There are a lot of things that are going to happen here in camp. We’ll see how it all turns out. He’s done a good job.”
Harris is 6-foot-3, 205 pounds and spent most of the spring working from the slot with Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett as outside receivers. Five practices into training camp, Harris has split his time out wide and in the slot with Edelman nursing a thumb injury, leading slot receiver Braxton Berrios to be inserted into the first-team offense.
“I play all the spots,” Harris said Monday. “I try to use that to my advantage, being versatile and playing all over. I think that can help the team win.”
Harris has shown extremely solid hands in his brief Patriots career. That seems to be a strength of his game. Pro Football Focus has charted him for 80 targets in 901 snaps in regular and preseason action, and he’s dropped just one pass.
He also once did this:
His biggest focus in Foxboro is learning the Patriots’ playbook.
“Coming in, being new, I have to get caught up,” Harris said. “I just have to take it one day at a time and continue to build.”
He’s not alone. Among 12 wide receivers on the Patriots’ roster, only Edelman, Dorsett and Matthew Slater played offensive snaps last season. Harris, Dontrelle Inman and Demaryius Thomas are new, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Ryan Davis and Gunner Olszewski are rookies, Damoun Patterson spent last season on the practice squad, and Berrios was on injured reserve.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images