Stephon Gilmore thinks N’Keal Harry could be a “great player”
All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been impressed thus far with rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry, and thinks big things could be ahead for Harry.
Stephon Gilmore was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL last season. He’s also had the opportunity – if you want to call it that – to go up against some of the best wide receivers in the league over his past two seasons as a Patriot, including the likes of Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, Los Angeles’ Keenan Allen, and Pittsburgh’s (now Oakland’s) Antonio Brown.
So it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion knows what he’s talking about when assessing the skill set and potential of a wide receiver he’s regularly competing against.
Such is the case with the Patriots’ newest offensive weapon, first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry out of Arizona State. Harry is the first wide receiver to be selected by New England in the first round during the entire Bill Belichick tenure, so understandably he enters the league (and Gillette Stadium itself) with quite a bit of pressure and expectation already resting on his sizable frame.
Gilmore has only had a few days’ worth of practices at the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp to form an opinion on Harry, but so far, it’s a positive one – and that should excite New Englanders everywhere.
“He’s a big guy,” Gilmore told The Athletic’s Jeff Howe. “I pressed him one time and tried to get my hands on him, and he threw them down. He’s really strong. He’s just got to keep working. He’s got great coaches and great players around him. It’s not easy for any of us. But if he keeps working, he’ll be in the right place when it’s time.”
While Harry positively shined during the Patriots’ voluntary OTAs last month, his performance at the mandatory minicamp has been a bit more up-and-down according to most reports. That’s nothing unusual for a rookie experiencing his first real bit of action in the NFL; after all, no one ever said the learning curve wouldn’t be difficult making the jump from college to the pros… especially in an offense as diverse and complex as New England’s.
All the same, Gilmore is still impressed with the progress he’s seeing from the rook thus far.
"“He’s kind of quiet, and I’m kind of quiet,” Gilmore continued. “He’s a good dude. I’m just trying to focus on my technique. If I see something, I’ll tell him. Other than that, I feel like he’s got the right coaches to help him become a great player. He keeps competing. He’s mad if he drops a pass. He’s mad when he messes up. When you see stuff like that, he shows you he really cares that he wants to be a great player.”"
All of Patriots Nation is keeping their collective fingers crossed that Harry materializes into a major asset for this offense in 2019. Especially with tight end Rob Gronkowski reportedly content in his retirement, quarterback Tom Brady needs a playmaker who can strike fear in the hearts of opposing defensive players.