Who Analytics Expert Believes Will Be Patriots’ Most-Improved Player In 2020


July 21, 2020

The Patriots will need a handful of players to take their games to the next level if they want to be playing football next January.

New England knows what it will receive from the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and Joe Thuney, and its overall collection of veteran talent should keep the Pats competitive this season. That said, breakout seasons from a few of the Patriots’ younger and more inexperienced players would go a long way in helping the franchise exceed expectations in 2020.

As for which Patriots player could experience the biggest leap in the upcoming campaign, NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund has her eyes set on N’Keal Harry, the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Frelund sees Harry’s role evolving in what could be an improved New England offense.

“Josh McDaniels’ offensive game plans have historically been hard for defenses to peg and anticipate,” Frelund wrote for NFL.com. “That figures to be even more true as New England begins the post-Tom Brady era, with Cam Newton set to compete with Jarrett Stidham for the starting job. So, when the Patriots rank last in the league in any one particular area, I think it stands to reason that it likely won’t be a trend that continues. Here’s one example in which the expected improvement stands to benefit Harry: The Pats posted 6.2 yards per attempt to players aligned wide in 2019 (the lowest mark in the NFL, per NGS). Harry aligned wide on 86 percent of his snaps last season. As Harry starts his sophomore campaign, it’s likely he’ll be a bigger focus of — and contributor to — the game plan.”

It appears as though Harry is setting himself up to put his name on the NFL map in 2020. The 22-year-old, judging from his Instagram posts the past few months, trained hard over the offseason, including a throwing session with Newton.

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Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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