BOSTON (CBS) — More so than any other year in recent memory, the Patriots are going to rest a lot of their offensive expectations on the shoulders of rookies.
Namely, first-round pick N’Keal Harry will be under the spotlight every moment of every day, both in practice and in games, as he will be trying to rapidly develop a rapport with quarterback Tom Brady.
Doing that, though, will be extra difficult now, after Harry suffered an injury in last week’s preseason opener. Harry’s absence from practice on Monday was the biggest takeaway for ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss.
“It makes you ask the question — how serious are these injuries?” Reiss said, also referencing the injury to tight end Matt LaCosse. “They probably won’t travel to Tennessee this week for the joint practices because of that. And for N’Keal Harry, the first-round pick, I’d start there. It’s disappointing. He’s been out every day, on the field at practice, and was really coming on. But he first pulled something up in Detroit on the Tuesday practice, and it does make you almost ask the question, did he try to push through when they should have held him back? And did he do more damage?
“Now, you look at the result, and you think that,” Reiss continued. “And sometimes I think with young players, you almost say do you need to protect them from themselves? Because as a young guy, he wants to prove himself and show that he can fight through things. But maybe they don’t know what they don’t know, because they’re rookies. So I think that’s one situation obviously to monitor going forward.”
In some more positive news in the rookie receiver department, Jakobi Meyers continued to shine after his impressive debut in preseason game action.
“Those who were at practice today saw him make a diving catch in the end zone from Brian Hoyer. And I think about a young, undrafted player that had a good preseason debut, you know, what do you want to see going forward? That he keeps working and the it doesn’t get to his head and that he keeps his focus going forward. And he comes out today, and has what looked like to us — you know, the layman’s view — a very good practice. So the arrow is clearly pointing up for Jakobi Meyers.”
WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid noted how crisply Meyers is running his routes on the practice field.
“And that’s so interesting, because he just switched to the position at NC State in 2016,” Reiss replied. “He was a quarterback in high school and really when he went to college, he went as a quarterback, switching to receiver. Hmm, where have I seen that before? … Julian Edelman. So, you know, it’s going to be interesting to watch, but it looks like they may have found someone here, undrafted.”