One of N’Keal Harry’s former coaches says Patriots had Harry graded much higher than No. 32

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There’s a good reason for Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s decision to make N'Keal Harry the first first-round receiver selected by the team since Terry Glenn in 1996. The reason is simple: Belichick had Harry rated much higher than No. 32 in the draft.

That’s what Belichick told former Arizona State coach Todd Graham after picking Harry, according to Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com.

“When I talked to coach Belichick the night that he drafted N’Keal,” Graham told Howe, via NBCSportsBoston.com. “[Belichick] told me, ‘Man, we were so fortunate that he was still there.’ They were so glad he was still available. They had him graded a lot higher than where he was taken in the first round.”

The Patriots had to feel strongly about Harry, or they wouldn’t have rolled the dice on him. Over the years, Belichick has shown that he has a scouting blind spot when it comes to receivers taken in the higher rounds of the draft, from second-rounder Aaron Dobson in 2013 to third-rounder Taylor Price in 2010 to third-rounder Brandon Tate in 2009 to second-rounder Chad Jackson in 2006 to second-rounder Bethel Johnson in 2003. Only Deion Branch, a second-rounder in 2002, delivered on his potential.

We’ll find out soon enough whether Harry does, and whether he merits whatever specific grade the Patriots applied to him.

19 responses to “One of N’Keal Harry’s former coaches says Patriots had Harry graded much higher than No. 32

  1. The Patriots can rate guys differently while they have Tom Brady. Harry is a high ceiling guy that catches everything, but doesn’t get much separation. With Brady, you don’t need separation. He doesn’t do much away from the ball as far as effort goes. Maybe Belichick will be able to get him to try harder. Definitely has the skills and talent to be great, but doesn’t play like he wants to be great. High ceiling guys might do better in New England than elsewhere. Will be interesting to watch. I wouldn’t have drafted him, but he’s been handed a golden opportunity. Hopefully Brady can play a couple more years.

  2. I’m still waiting for the day that a coach comes out and says “yeah, we didn’t have him graded that highly, but sometimes you just have to reach for the heck of it, y’know…”

  3. I absolutely believe this guy has knowledge of the Pats draft board. That is a tight lipped organization who knows better than to share any information. I rate this bunk.

  4. The Pats have graded a number of guys higher than the rest of the league. Some work out fine. Others not so much. In that regard they aren’t much different than any other team in the league. Where they ARE different can be summed up in 3 areas

    1. is in how well they develop their players once they get there

    2. How successful they are at getting the best out of the vets who come in (pro personnel scouting)

    3. Their culture or team building.

    No team in the league does a better job at getting the MOST out of the talent they have. It is the place where the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.

    A perfect example of that effect is their Superbowl win last year. On an individual basis they might have had the worst (relatively speaking) individual talent of the final 8 teams, yet prevailed because in the end they were the best TEAM.

  5. The Patriots probably rated Harry higher than #32. I’d doubt all 31 previously drafted players were #1-31 on their board. The likelihood of his former coach having inside info on the Pats draft room strategy is what’s questionable.

  6. many hopes for a good rookie year, makes a lasting connection with brady, does not get hurt and makes up a bit for the loss of gronk because we cannot rely on number eleven every second passing play

  7. canadianpatsfan says:
    May 31, 2019 at 1:36 am
    many hopes for a good rookie year, makes a lasting connection with brady, does not get hurt and makes up a bit for the loss of gronk because we cannot rely on number eleven every second passing play

    8 1 Rate This

    ———————–

    Talk to Brady….HE’s the QB. Brady shouldn’t need future HOFers only if he is the GOAT.

    Berrios appeaars to be on track, but an uknown, Dorsett proved to make some big catches and is clearly engrained into the system, Demarius Thomas is older but should be able to pick it up with his reltionship with McDaniels, and NE has the best RB group in the league.

    Not close there.

    James White is probably the best pass catching back in the NFL. Gronk was a shell of his former self as his body broke down but he gutted it out in the postseason. Let’s not act like it’s 2-14 or 2010 when Gronk was healthy and available every week.

    Brady needs to spread it around like it’s 2004 with David Patten, an old Troy Brown, Branch and Givens. Read those names again if you need to.

  8. charliecharger says:
    May 30, 2019 at 9:07 pm
    The Patriots can rate guys differently while they have Tom Brady. Harry is a high ceiling guy that catches everything, but doesn’t get much separation. With Brady, you don’t need separation. He doesn’t do much away from the ball as far as effort goes. Maybe Belichick will be able to get him to try harder. Definitely has the skills and talent to be great, but doesn’t play like he wants to be great. High ceiling guys might do better in New England than elsewhere. Will be interesting to watch. I wouldn’t have drafted him, but he’s been handed a golden opportunity. Hopefully Brady can play a couple more years.

    43 6 Rate This

    ———————-

    No, no, no. no…They can rate guys differently because they have Bill Belichick.

    Brady has fired more WRs than any QB in NFL history. Last year alone was a world record in this area.

    The football IQ is vital as is the hunger to be a pro. It’s hard to dissect if a prospect really has that or not.

    BB does the best he can in this area, but it’s up to Brady to go to OTAs, invite ALL WRs to his Montana ranch and start the relationship.

    Last year, he did none of these things and he and the team paid for it early on.

    We shall see if he improves in this area this year. He’s already skipped the OTAs, so he’s already behind the 8 ball with his responsibilities.

  9. I’d agree that WR has been a notable blind spot and the Patriots have only drafted 4 WR’s that have fashioned a long NFL careers (80+ games) since 2000.

    Consider this, the notable blind spot has produced two SB MVP’s. Not so bad.

    Hopefully Harry will soften this failure anomaly.

  10. Same old crock about belichick not sucessfully evaluating wideouts. The fact that he NEVER before drafted one in the 1st round demonstrates that he simply refused to overpay for the position – end result NINE bowls in 18 years!

  11. In the NFL almost every catch will be contested so BB drafts A WR that excells at contested throws. Separation and 40 speeds are overrated if you can only catch the ball when you are wide open.

  12. If only BB could have had draft picks in the top ten since he became coach. He could have had these probowl HOF WRs. David Terrell, Reggie Williams, Charles Rogers, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Ted Ginn and the other WRs that were drafted out of the top ten over the years. BB can’t evaluate WRs they say… Hilarious.

  13. Cautiously optimistic about Harry. The fact that he connected with Brady and worked out privately with him and Edelman is a very good sign.

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