Former Arizona State star receiver N’Keal Harry’s time with the New England Patriots appears to be coming to an end.
Harry’s agent Jamal Toolson formerly requested a trade on Tuesday morning on Harry’s behalf. The request comes just days after Mike Reiss of ESPN said the wide receiver was in jeopardy of being cut from the Patriots roster.
Harry was drafted with the billing of a wideout who possessed a wide catch radius and could be a consistent vertical threat, something then Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had lacked in prior seasons.
But Harry’s time in New England was a struggle before it could even take off. An ankle injury sidelined him for much of his rookie season, which didn’t allow him to establish a rapport with Brady. The Patriots suffered their earliest playoff exit in nearly a decade that season, and went into rebuilding after their six-time champion signal caller departed for Tampa Bay in free agency.
The Patriot offense went under a complete reconfiguration with new dual-threat quarterback Cam Newton in 2020. The offense featured exponentially more designed quarterback runs and less deep passing routes for Harry to show off the best parts of his game.
An offense that puts a premium on a vertical passing game and allows their wideouts to win one-on-one battles is where Harry will exceed at the NFL level. After all, that’s how he dominated the collegiate ranks at Arizona State.
After a tremendous high school career at local Chandler High School, Harry was the jewel of the Sun Devils’ 2016 recruiting class. An impressive freshman season garnished with seven scrimmage touchdowns was just the appetizer for a breakout sophomore season where Harry caught 82 passes for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. He was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and shot up draft boards.
Harry entered the 2018 season as one of the top receivers in the country. He proved his status with a game-breaking touchdown reception in Week 2 against Michigan State. His go-ahead score kickstarted gave the program a marquee win and kickstarted the Herm Edwards era.
Harry finished his junior year with another All-Pac-12 First Team selection and declared for the NFL draft. His start in the NFL may have been disappointing, but Harry is just three years removed from a college career that saw him drafted higher than wideouts like Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and D.K. Metcalf. In the right situation, it is possible Harry can join those players in NFL stardom.