What a difference a year makes, ain’t that right?
This time last year, Patriots Nation was up in arms regarding the wide receiver position. The team had Julian Edelman coming off an ACL injury and had to serve a four game suspension all while losing key guys in Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola.
However, this year the Patriots were in a much better spot coming into training camp. They loaded up at receiver through free agency, the draft and by signing some pretty impressive undrafted free agents. The Patriots had ‘likely’ two locks at the wide receiver position in Edelman and N’Keal Harry coming into camp, but Maurice Harris has now also had his “hold my beer” moment.
Harris signed a one-year, $1 million dollar deal this offseason after Washington didn’t offer him a contract as a restricted free agent. The 26-year-old is coming off a 28-catch campaign for 304 yards including a 10-catch, 124-yard outbreak in week six against the Atlanta Falcons. Harris hasn’t gotten the chance to really solidify himself yet in an offense but he has posted a 61% catch rate in his short NFL career.
Coming into a fresh environment in New England, Harris is sure making the most of his opportunity as he has caught just about everything thrown his way so far and currently leads the Patriots wide receivers in catches in 7’s and 11-on-11’s. He has run some really smooth routes while showcasing his great hands and working mainly out of the slot for the Patriots starting offense.
He also gained some praise from Bill Belichick along the way, who may have found another diamond in the rough: “He’s a smart guy. He’s learned well,” Belichick said about the former undrafted rookie free agent. If it all continues, Harris could be lining up next to Edelman come week one and play a crucial part in the Patriots offense. Whether that be in the slot or on the outside, he certainly appears to be a candidate for a breakout year here in New England.