The training wheels remain fastened for New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry.
The No. 32 overall pick in April’s draft returned to practice midway through October, and returned to the active roster last weekend only to be among the inactives versus the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
But Patriots safety and team captain Devin McCourty has seen Harry’s progress from across the line.
“I just think he continues to get better,” McCourty said of the 6-foot-4, 225-pound target Thursday on WEEI’s Dale & Keefe. “I think one of the things he does a really good job of is playing hard in practice. At times, he pisses off the DBs because he works his butt off out there blocking, out there getting open.”
Harry’s lone appearance for New England came in August’s preseason opener. He caught two passes for 36 yards against the Detroit Lions before exiting. The sample size spanned three offensive snaps.
The 21-year-old Arizona State product would be placed on injured reserve following Labor Day weekend’s roster deadline, leaving the door open for a midseason debut on a depth chart that also includes Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Phillip Dorsett, Matthew Slater and undrafted rookies Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski.
“I think that’s been the good thing to see him back out there running around,” added McCourty. “But it’s hard when you’re a young guy, you’re a rookie, and you miss that much time. You just come out there, and I think it’s everything in your game you have to work on. I think as an older guy, that’s been exciting to see him there every day after practice, getting work in. He’s doing his best to try to get back out there.”
Harry partook in pregame warm-ups last Sunday night. His next chance to go from practicing to playing will have to wait until after New England’s bye week.
A 4:25 p.m. ET meeting with Philadelphia Eagles is scheduled for Nov. 17 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Time will tell whether Harry, who caught a pass in all 37 games he played for the Sun Devils, has a hand in it.