ASU Football: Teammates and Coaches Praise N'Keal Harry's Development

Millard Thomas

By the end of the 2019 season, there was a growing narrative around the league 32nd overall pick N'Keal Harry was a bust. It was hard to argue against when looking at his rookie season compared to other rookie wide receivers taken after him in the NFL draft.

A.J Brown took no time to establish himself as the #1 wide receiver in the Titans offense. He finished last year with slightly over 1000 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns.

D.K Metcalf showcased that he might be the best deep threat in the NFL. He had at least 70 receiving yards in 5 of his last 8 games while finishing the year with 7 touchdowns.

Harry struggled with his health last season, only playing in 7 games. And when he did play, he wasn't super effective - finishing the year with 12 catches for 105 yards.

But through the first two games of 2020, Harry's play has told us we shouldn't call a player a bust after only one season. He already has more catches (13) and yards (111) this year than all of last season.

On the final drive of the game Sunday, when the Patriots needed a touchdown to win, Harry caught 3 balls for 42 yards on four targets. Quarterback Cam Newton was looking Harry's way every time he needed a clutch play. Something we didn't see from Tom Brady and Harry at all last year.

The development in Harry's game has not gone unnoticed by his teammates and coaches. On Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed Harry's jump in year one to year two.

"N'Keal has continued to work hard. His role has expanded from what it was his rookie season," said Belichick'. "He's made steady strides and improvement in his game. He's now lined up in different positions and can add some variety to his route tree and the roles on the team that he can perform."

It didn't matter where Harry lined up on Sunday because Newton was going to feed him the ball. But even after leading the team in targets (12) and finishing tied for most catches (8), there were still concerns about New England's depth at wide receiver.

When Cam Newton was asked on The Greg Hill Show if he would like to see the Patriots add another receiver, he didn't mince his words.

"Man, I'll say this, the answers are in that locker room. Simple and plain," Newton said. "We got Little Butt, Doughboy, Highway 11 and MyGerms. We good to go. Let me rewind that. We have Damiere Byrd, N'Keal Harry, Julian Edelman and Jakobi Meyers."

It's still early in the season, but Harry is quickly shedding that bust label. If he continues to see an uptick in production, we might have to reconsider who is the best wide receiver out of the 2019 NFL Draft.