FOXBORO, Mass. — Perhaps Week 11 is the time for N’Keal Harry’s NFL debut. It wasn’t Week 9 when the New England Patriots activated their rookie wide receiver off of injured reserve but then made him inactive on their gameday roster against the Baltimore Ravens.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t offering any hints as to whether the 2019 first-round pick will suit up Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We’ll activate the players we feel give us the best chance to compete against the Eagles,” Belichick said.
Belichick was asked if Harry is on the right track or if he’s fallen behind after starting the season on injured reserve.
“Yeah, I don’t know what the track is,” Belichick said. “Go out there every day and try to get better. He’s done a good job of that. He’s worked hard, he’s improved like all of our players have that are out there working. That’s what we expect, but he’s done a good job of that. He’s a lot better than he was earlier in the year and two weeks ago.”
The Patriots have an issue of a numbers game at wide receiver. Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett are guaranteed to be active on gameday. Then the Patriots have to pick one or two players out of Harry and fellow rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski to dress for gameday. In Week 9, the Patriots only activated Meyers as Olszewski dealt with ankle and hamstring injuries. Meyers played one snap when Dorsett briefly was banged up. Add special teamer Matthew Slater into the mix, and there’s no reason to dress seven wide receivers for a game.
So, something — or someone — has to give for Harry to play. The Patriots certainly need to see what they have in Harry before the end of the 2019 season. He was selected in the first round for a reason and adds an element of size that the Patriots need, especially in the red zone.
The Patriots take on the Eagles on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET. We’ll find out if Harry is playing by 2:55 p.m. when inactives are announced.