The New England Patriots Finally Admit to Their 3-Year-Old Blunder

Maybe they were stubborn. Maybe they were patient. In any case, the New England Patriots finally pulled the plug.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots finally admitted to their 2019 mistake. The Pats passed on wide receivers Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and DK Metcalf, taking N’Keal Harry instead. On Tuesday, the Patriots showed just how badly they missed on their 2019 first-round pick.

The New England Patriots trade N’Keal Harry to the Chicago Bears

N’Keal Harry of the New England Patriots looks on from the sidelines during the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

Harry and the Patriots just weren’t a good mix. The Pats selected the 6-foot-4 wide receiver out of Arizona State with the last pick in the first round in the 2019 NFL Draft. His three-year numbers are about a third of what Samuel, taken four picks later, produced last year alone with the San Francisco 49ers.

In two of his three seasons, Harry had 12 catches. Statistically, his best year came in 2020 when he had a career-high 33 receptions for 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

For his career, Harry finished with 57 catches, 598 yards, and four touchdowns. Last year alone, Samuel had 77 catches for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed 59 times for 365 yards and eight scores.

How far did Harry’s stock fall in three years?

The Patriots secured a seventh-round pick in 2024 from the Chicago Bears in exchange for him.

Harry had requested a trade from the Patriots before the 2021 season

Before last season began, Harry’s agent put out a statement saying the wide receiver wanted to be traded. His agent, Jamal Tooson, said Harry couldn’t contribute if he didn’t get an opportunity.

“N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity,” Tooson said in a statement. “He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it.”

Any opportunity for the 2022 season was pretty much shut down when the Patriots brought in wide receiver DeVante Parker. Parker’s arrival, combined with New England declining Harry’s fifth-year option, showed the writing was on the wall.

Now, he’ll get his chance in Chicago, although the Bears probably don’t have high hopes either after giving up just a seventh-rounder in a draft that takes place two years from now.

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