Patriots puzzlingly missed out on trading away N’Keal Harry

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 28: N'Keal Harry #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 28: N'Keal Harry #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots went into the 2022 NFL Draft with the goal of getting Mac Jones some extra help. A wide receiver core led by DeVante Parker and N’Keal Harry needed a few more promising youngsters if they wanted to help Jones reach his full potential.

The Patriots might have made some less-than-popular picks in this class, but they did get Jones a new field-stretcher in Tyquan Thornton while drafting a pair of running backs in fourth-rounder Pierre Strong Jr. and sixth-rounder Kevin Harris. Bizarrely, Harry remains on the roster.

The Patriots kept the trade market open for Harry after the Arizona State product failed to catch on with Tom Brady, Cam Newton, and Mac Jones at quarterback. Ultimately, the draft came and went without New England finding a suitable bidder for his services in the later rounds.

New England did their due diligence with regards to finding a landing spot for Harry, but they just couldn’t get a deal done. While he likely would have brought back a very late draft pick, the Patriots’ history of hitting on picks like that might make them regret not taking what they can get on Harry.

The New England Patriots didn’t trade N’Keal Harry.

Harry recorded just 12 catches for 184 yards without recording a touchdown. After three different quarterbacks, it’s fair to say at this point that he is just not going to fit in with what Bill Belichick wants to do. His issues with getting separation at the line of scrimmage are not resolved.

While his value is as low as humanly possible, Harry has some impressive contested-catch situations. Harry needs to go to a coach that is willing to invest a ton of developmental energy in him. In the right system, he has some appeal as an ace red-zone target.

The Patriots needed one more linebacker and another rotational lineman that could make the front seven even more deadly. The inflated wide receiver market could mean that even below-average players like Harry could be sent away for a price that he wouldn’t normally warrant. The Pats saw all their leverage in Harry talks ebb away.

The Patriots likely won’t keep Harry on the final roster, so they risk bungling trade talks and cutting him for nothing before the season. Harry is very close to officially being consigned to the great burial ground of failed Belichick wide receivers alongside Chad Jackson and Aaron Dobson.