BOSTON (CBS) — When Bill Belichick drafted N’Keal Harry with the 32nd overall pick in 2019 — making him the first wide receiver the Hall of Fame coach has ever drafted in the first round — the young pass-catcher had to have known that the spotlight would be shining bright in his direction when he arrived in New England.
Harry was the second receiver taken in the 2019 draft after Marquise Brown (25th overall by the Ravens), but he’s been out-performed by every other receiver in his draft class, a group that includes A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, Mecole Hardman and Diontae Johnson. Each of those players have more catches and over 400 receiving yards more than Harry, who has 30 receptions for 271 yards and three touchdowns in 11 career games.
An injury sidelined Harry for the start of his rookie season, so his NFL career got off to a late start. But given where he was drafted, pundits will always compare Harry to the other receivers taken after him.
But Harry is not one to take part in such a practice.
“No, I can’t compare my situation to anybody else,” the receiver told reporters on Thursday. “Just like D.K. can’t compare his situation to A.J. and A.J. can’t really compare his situation to D.K. We’re all in different positions. When I sit there, I’m extremely happy for those guys. I was training with them pre-draft, so I know how much work they put in and I have a lot of respect for the way they grind.
“I’ve never been the type to just sit there and say, ‘Why hasn’t that happened for me?’ I know I’m in a different situation and every day I’m just going to go out there and work on ways to improve and stay patient and trust God’s timing. That’s my philosophy,” Harry added.
The 22-year-old isn’t flustered that his career is off to a slower start than his receiver counterparts. Whether he puts up big numbers or not, his main focus is to help the Patriots win football games.
“My mindset is doing whatever coach needs me to do,” said Harry. “At the end of the day, I’m not too worried about personal stats and stuff like that. I’m worried about getting a win. I hate losing. I hate losing more than I love winning, so that’s my No. 1 goal, to win the game and do whatever I can to help us win the game.”
In four games this season, Harry has hauled in 18 receptions for 166 and a touchdown.