The Patriots this year face one of the most important drafts in franchise history, and they would be wise to avoid the same mistake made in the 2019 NFL Draft.

New England ambitiously selected N’Keal Harry with the No. 32 pick that year. It quickly became a disaster, and with studs like Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf selected a round later, the selection was bemoaned by fans even more.

Harry played 33 games in three seasons with the Patriots. He caught 57 passes for 598 yards and three touchdowns before he was cut during the 2022 offseason.

The Arizona State product was a standout in the Pac-12, but his former Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards knew he was a poor fit in New England.

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“When he first got there. He was a JC guy,” Edwards told Go Long’s Tyler Dunne of Brandon Aiyuk. “He didn’t get a lot of love early because we had N’Keal Harry, who was the first-round pick for New England. He had too many followers, man. That’s what killed him. That poor kid.

“He had hanger-on’ers. And it was like, ‘C’mon, N’Keal.’ Because talent-wise? He’s got enough talent. He’s a big, strong physical receiver to catch the ball. And then he went to New England. That was the worst place for him to go because it just didn’t fit. That didn’t fit him. But Aiyuk, you could tell he was going to be good. He was good. He just didn’t get a lot of love early because of obviously N’Keal. But then he came on — he came with Jayden (Daniels) — and they were like two peas in the pod. When Jayden needed somebody or Jayden got outside the pocket, it was those two guys making plays.”

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Harry struggled with injuries during his time with New England, and when he did play, he also struggled to create chemistry no matter if it was Tom Brady, Cam Newton or Mac Jones under center. But there were coaches like Edwards who still saw the potential in Harry.

“Talent sometimes can be a curse. I’ve always said that,” Edwards said. “If you don’t use it correctly, it could be a curse to you.”

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Edwards elaborated and noted how important work ethic is in the NFL since the talent gap isn’t as large at the next level compared to college football.

Harry spent the majority of his time last season on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad and signed a reserve/future contract at the end of last campaign. Edwards still believes Harry can find success in the NFL, and he’s shown in his post-Patriots career that he can flash the skills they saw in him as a first-round pick in 2019.

Featured image via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images