FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady got a brand-new toy Thursday night.
With the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry, a big, physical contested-catch master who should bolster Brady’s uninspiring assortment of offensive weapons.
Asked afterward about the prospect of catching passes from a surefire Hall of Famer, Harry could hardly contain his excitement.
“I’m extremely excited,” the 6-foot-2, 228-pound wideout said in his introductory conference call with New England reporters. “I’m just ecstatic to come in, work hard, constantly improve and just live up to the expectations.”
Harry, who is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Sun Devils, got a brief introduction to New England’s culture when he took an official pre-draft visit to Gillette Stadium earlier this month.
“I had a visit with the Patriots, and I felt that it went really well,” he said. “I feel like I meshed with the coaches very well and I just feel like I fit in with the team and everything very well. … Also, I just felt like coming in, I’ll be expected to know a lot and be prepared, and I’m ready for that.”
That visit included a memorable meeting with Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
“He was a very great man,” Harry recalled. “I feel like a lot of people just think of him as just an uptight person, but he was very relatable. We were in there smiling, cracking jokes, so I got a very good vibe from him and I’m looking forward to talking to him (Friday), as well.”
Harry was the first wide receiver drafted by the Patriots in the first round since Belichick took over the team in 2000 — a fact that both humbled and motivated the 21-year old.
“It means the world to me,” Harry said. “For him to have that much faith in me and to have that much trust in me, it just makes me want to work that much harder. So I’m going to come in with a workhouse mindset and get better every day.”
Harry played both outside and in the slot at Arizona State, catching 73 passes for 1,088 yards and nine touchdown as a junior in 2018. As for what his role will be in New England, he said he’ll let Belichick and the coaching staff determine that.
“I’m going to come in with the mindset of being very coachable,” said Harry, who played under former New York Jets head coach Herm Edwards last season. “I’ve always been a very coachable player, just picking up on things very quickly. Whatever they need me to do or want me to do, I’ll get on it right away.”
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images