Patriots

NFL evaluator: Easy to see Josh Gordon in N'Keal Harry's game

NFL evaluator: Easy to see Josh Gordon in N'Keal Harry's game

FOXBORO -- Even if you're watching tape of one NFL-caliber prospect after another, all considered among the best of the best at their position in college, there are some talents who stand out even among the elite because of their combination of size and skill. 

That's what happened to one evaluator I spoke to over the weekend who studied New England's first-round pick, N'Keal Harry from Arizona State, during the pre-draft process. This person had worked with Josh Gordon before, and it was Gordon who first came to mind when Harry's tape was on the screen.

While Gordon is still among the most gifted receivers in the league, the comparison between Harry and Gordon is a natural one for a variety of reasons. 

A layman could make the comparison following the combine -- as I did on an episode of "The Next Pats Podcast" (31:37) -- because of their remarkably similar physical traits. According to Mockdraftable.com, their respective frames (6-foot-2.5, 228 pounds for Harry; 6-3, 224 for Gordon), their arm lengths (33 inches; 33.25 inches), hand sizes (9.5 inches, 10 inches), 40 times (4.53 seconds, 4.52 seconds), vertical jumps (38.5 inches, 36 inches) and broad jumps (122 inches, 121 inches) are all nearly identical. 

But it goes beyond the measurables. Watch them play, I was told. The word that continued to come from the evaluator who had worked with Gordon and studied Harry was "rare." Both play faster than their 40 times, and both have the body control and change-of-direction ability of a receiver 30 pounds lighter. That's not something that would necessarily show up in a combine test. 

For example, Ole Miss wideout D.K. Metcalf had numbers in Indianapolis that blew everyone's out of the water. At 6-foot-3.5, he checked in at 228 pounds, had better jumps (40.5-inch vert, 134-inch broad) and a much quicker 40 (4.33 seconds). But, I was told, Harry plays "twice as fast" as Metcalf. "And I'm not sure it's close." It seems as though others around the league agreed. Metcalf ended up being drafted No. 64 overall by the Seahawks.

The Gordon-to-Harry comparison was helped, in the eyes of this evaluator, by their work after the catch. Even without the benefit of working with the Patriots before the season, Gordon was a terror in 2018 on slants, hitches and the occasional back-shoulder throw. On some of the shorter tosses that got him the football in space, he broke tackles regularly and fought through contact to pick up whatever yardage was available to him.

The ability to make contested catches are part of what makes Harry's skill set so appealing, but I was warned, don't consider him a jump-ball specialist. The instincts to find a crease and keep plays alive with the football in his hands was something Harry exhibited time and again as a Sun Devil; he broke 38 tackles in three seasons and was a pest for opposing defenses on screens.

With a creative coordinator like Josh McDaniels, and a short-area surgeon like Tom Brady, the Patriots will likely find a variety of different uses for their shiny new first-round toy who looks like he could be the closest thing to Gordon in this year's draft class.

Click here for our list of NFL Draft winners & losers>>>>

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Patriots-Chiefs injury report: Tom Brady, Cody Kessler limited at practice

Patriots-Chiefs injury report: Tom Brady, Cody Kessler limited at practice

The New England Patriots had two quarterbacks limited at Thursday's practice as they prepared for Sunday's Week 14 game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

Starting quarterback Tom Brady was a limited participant with toe and right elbow injuries, while third-string QB Cody Kessler was limited because of an illness. The only Patriots quarterback not on the latest injury report is rookie backup Jarrett Stidham.

Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman (shoulder) and Mohamed Sanu (ankle) were among the six other players limited in practice. Ted Karras (knee) and rookie Byron Cowart (head) were the only Patriots who didn't practice.

Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark was added to the injury report with a shoulder issue and illness. He did not practice Thursday. Veteran running back Damien Williams also didn't practice. He's missed back-to-back practices, making his status for Sunday unclear. Kansas City already placed running back Darrel Williams on injured reserve earlier Thursday, so the Chiefs are pretty thin at that position.

Here are the full Thursday injury reports for both teams.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-2)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
DL Byron Cowart, Head
OL Ted Karras, Knee

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Tom Brady, Toe / Right Elbow
LB Ja'Whaun Bentley, Knee
OT Marcus Cannon, Illness
S Patrick Chung, Heel
WR Julian Edelman, Shoulder
QB Cody Kessler, Illness
CB Jason McCourty, Groin
WR Mohamed Sanu, Ankle

FULL PARTICIPATION
No Players Listed

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-4)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Morris Claiborne, Shoulder
CB Rashad Fenton, Hamstring
RB Damien Williams, Rib
DE Frank Clark, Shoulder/Illness

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
No Players Listed

FULL PARTICIPATION
OT Eric Fisher, Groin
CB Kendall Fuller, Thumb
QB Patrick Mahomes, Knee
DT Derrick Nnadi, Elbow
DE Alex Okafor, Ankle

Matt Cassel: How Patriots, Belichick process 'bulletin board material'>>>

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Antonio Brown has message for Tom Brady in latest Patriots-related post

Antonio Brown has message for Tom Brady in latest Patriots-related post

Antonio Brown is back with yet another Patriots-related social media post.

The embattled wide receiver, who recently posted a hilarious Christmas-themed video directed at the Patriots, posted a message to his former quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday.

"Miss you big bro," he wrote under a photo he took with Brady after signing with New England in September.

Check it out below:

View this post on Instagram

Miss you big bro

A post shared by Boomin (@ab) on

That certainly won't help quiet the talk of a possible AB/Patriots reunion, especially given New England's continued struggles on offense.

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