The two highest-profile members of the New England Patriots’ 2019 draft class are doing their best to stay connected during the NFL’s current COVID-19-related shutdown.
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry, New England’s top pick in last year’s draft, told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche that he and quarterback Jarrett Stidham already are formulating contingency plans in the likely event that coronavirus concerns result in the cancellation of spring workouts.
The league already has delayed the start of offseason programs and closed all team facilities until further notice.
“I talked to Stidham the other day to make sure we read the (passing game) script,” Harry told Wyche. “If this goes on for a long time and there is no offseason training or OTAs, we’re going to have to meet up and get to work.”
Harry will be under the microscope this season after catching just 12 passes as a rookie and spending half the year on injured reserve. That’ll be dwarfed by the pressure Stidham will face, however, as last year’s fourth-round pick is the current favorite to replace legendary quarterback Tom Brady.
Harry and Stidham have worked together on the practice field over the last 11 months but have yet to take game reps together. Each of the wideout’s two preseason receptions last summer came on throws from Brian Hoyer, and Stidham logged only garbage-time snaps during the regular season.
New England got little out of its draft class last season, with only edge rusher Chase Winovich and punter Jake Bailey appearing in more than nine games (both played all 16). Running back Damien Harris, offensive linemen Yodny Cajuste and Hjalte Froholdt and defensive lineman Byron Cowart could see their roles increase in Year 2.