N’Keal Harry isn’t a superstar and there is no indication that if the Baltimore Ravens traded for him he would become one. We’re still talking about a lot of talent that didn’t exactly up and leave. Harry was a first-round pick for a reason and he may not be a lost cause.
The New England Patriots took Harry with the 32nd overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. The biggest question with Harry going into the pros was whether he could separate from NFL cornerbacks. Harry backed these fears with his production so far. In two mild seasons with the Patriots, Harry has averaged less than 10 yards per reception.
Harry had 33 receptions last year and 19 in his rookie season. It’s not what Bill Bellicheck bargained for when he made the pick. So why did the Patriots take a shot on him? For starters, he is a big 6-4 target. Harry had two 1,000 yard seasons at Arizona State. In three years he scored 22 touchdowns.
The Ravens need a big-bodied receiver. If the Ravens expended a sixth-round pick on Harry, ut really couldn’t hurt. If it didn’t work out, it didn’t cost much. If it did work, the Ravens would reap the benefits of a player who had day one talent but needed time to flourish.
Trading for Harry wouldn’t be fixing the wide receiver position. That’s not the goal of this kind of move. The goal here is to take on a project hoping that the Patriots are being foolish for letting go of Harry this early.
The Ravens would still need to sign a receiver in free agency or take one early in the 2021 NFL Draft. This would be rounding up the receiving room with something you don’t have a lot of in Baltimore, big and physical receivers.
Harry did just enough in his not that long ago collegiate career that you have to be at least a little interested. At Arizona State, he was the big and tough receiver that would go up and get the football. It’s frustrating. If you gave Harry the athleticism and speed of Miles Boykin he’d have it all. If you gave Boykin the possession receiver toughness of Harry he’d have it all as well.
A change of scenery was beneficial for Breshad Perriman after things didn’t work out in Baltimore. Being a receiver picked in the first round is a lot of pressure. Perriman is never going to be a number one receiver though he’s become a solid number three receiver with big-play potential.
Harry could become a solid player with the right coaching and the right opportunity. With the 32nd pick, the Patriots needed to get more than a player who could eventually become solid. With a sixth-round pick, half-decent is a win.
The Bottom Line:
We always complain in Baltimore that we don’t develop receivers. With receivers, you have to be willing to take on projects. You have to be willing to wait on a couple at a time. It’s like throwing noodles against the wall and seeing what sticks. Why not?
Harry gives you a chance to steal an NFL Draft hit if he develops. If he’s really just a bust a trade for him wasn’t a big investment. The Ravens should do this simply because the reward vs. risk equation makes it tempting.