BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots introduced first-round pick N’Keal Harry on Thursday afternoon, and the 21-year-old receiver is ready to get to work.
After taking a red-eye flight and arriving in New England early Thursday morning, Harry was joined by Patriots owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft on the Gillette Stadium field in the afternoon, holding up the customary No. 1 jersey as the Patriots’ top draft choice.
The receiver said it took a few days for it to sink in that he was a member of the New England Patriots, and he’s eager to learn from one of the most successful organization in NFL history.
“It means the world to me. This is a great organization and I feel like I couldn’t have been put in a better situation,” said Harry. “I’m learning from the best of the best and I’m ready to get to work and soak in as much information as possible.”
There was a little bit of worry on draft night as the first-round came to an end. Harry received a call from Bill Belichick to inform him that the team had picked him with the 32nd overall pick, but a bad connection ended the call. That’s not the best way to start your first conversation with your new coach, and Harry was worried that it may lead to the Patriots taking someone else.
“I wasn’t losing my mind but I was definitely nervous,” he admitted. “There was a part of me that was like, ‘OK, they can’t get ahold of me, I hope they don’t go on to the next person.’ That was a bit of the fear I was having, but it ended up working out.”
Harry’s addition gives Tom Brady a big-bodied receiver in his arsenal, with pundits comparing the ASU product to the likes of Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant and Anquan Bolden. While he’s flattered to hear his name mentioned with such players, the 6-foot-2 Harry is ready to make a name for himself in the NFL.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be compared to those types of players, but I still have to prove myself. I haven’t done anything in the NFL yet so it’s my job to put in the work and perform and live up to the expectations,” he said.
He hasn’t met his quarterback yet, but is looking forward to picking Brady’s brain when training camp gets underway later this summer. Harry is aware that Brady has the reputation of being a little hard on his receiver, especially rookies if they struggle to grasp the New England playbook. While he’d like to avoid getting chewed out by Brady, he said he’s ready for any feedback — or criticism — from his new teammates and coaches.
“That’s something I’m looking forward to,” he said, perhaps not fully understanding the wrath of Tom Brady. “I’m the type of player that wants to get better and get coached hard, so I’m looking forward to that.”
The Patriots’ 3-day rookie minicamp gets underway Friday in Foxboro.