When the New England Patriots drafted N’Keal Harry in the first round of this year’s draft, they added a tall and physical target to quarterback Tom Brady’s arsenal — one seemingly tailor-made for the X-receiver role in the world champions’ offense. As such, and considering the turnover the Patriots’ skill position group underwent this offseason, it would not be a surprise to see Harry get plenty of action during his rookie season.
This is exactly the reason why ESPN columnist Mike Clay recently named the Arizona State product as the top offseason addition made by New England when it comes to potential fantasy football impact. “The Patriots haven’t had much success drafting wide receivers in the Bill Belichick era, but Harry should get an opportunity to put that narrative to bed quickly,” wrote Clay about the 21-year-old wide receiver.
“New England’s wide receiver depth chart is wide open behind 33-year-old Julian Edelman, opening the door for Harry — the team’s first-round pick — to earn a full-time role out of the gate. Harry has good size (6-foot-2, 228 pounds), so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was featured near the goal line,” continued Clay who also projects the rookie wide receiver to finish the season with 51 receptions for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Numbers like those would make Harry the most statistically successful rookie wide receiver of the Brady/Belichick era, a title currently held by the 37-519-4 season Aaron Dobson produced in 2013. Seeing the 32nd overall selection of this year’s draft post better numbers than Dobson did six years ago would not be a surprise given his skill set in combination with the current composition of New England’s pass catching group.
For fantasy purposes, however, Harry might still be a risky investment — but one worth making, according to Clay. “It’s hard to count on rookies in fantasy, but Harry’s combination of talent and opportunity makes him an intriguing target in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts,” he wrote about the youngster. And while a lot can and will happen before fantasy teams get assembled, you should not forget to keep Harry on your radar when the time to draft comes around.