Patriots first-round pick N’Keal Harry, who’s already been compared to Josh Gordon, Dez Bryant, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, was introduced to the media Thursday afternoon. He appeared duly impressed. Harry, who arrived in Boston Thursday morning on a red-eye flight from Arizona, did the annual first-round photo op flanked by Robert and Jonathan Kraft prior to the Patriots’ rookie minicamp, which runs Friday through Sunday.
Once the Krafts departed – without fielding questions (they never do at this event) – Harry was left alone on a 10 x 20 riser and answered questions shouted by reporters until we were fully satisfied.
Here are five takeaways from Harry’s session:
“It’s definitely a blessing being compared to those types of players but I still have to prove myself,” said Harry. “I haven’t done anything in the NFL yet. It’s my job to put in the work and perform and live up to the expectations.”
Speaking about Gordon in particular, Harry said, “I’ve tried to look at a lot of different receivers. I feel I can take a lot from a lot of different NFL receivers. He‘s a great player and someone I’ll strive to be like.”
HE LIKES IT ROUGH
Tom Brady can be famously impatient with young receivers. Even veterans wind up with bite marks for not being at an appointed spot at an appointed time. Harry, who could potentially be front-and-center in the Patriots offense if the receiver depth doesn’t pan out, is ready for the mental side of it.
“That’s something I look forward to,” Harry said when asked about Brady’s intensity. “I’m the type of player who wants to get better. I want to get coached hard so I’m looking forward to that. …
“This is a great organization,” he also said. “I couldn’t have been put in a better situation. I’m learning from the best of the best and I’m just excited to get to work and soak in as much information as possible.”
HE CAN DO MORE THAN BUMP
Asked about his physicality as a receiver and ability to knock defensive backs around, Harry said, “I try not to lean on that too much. I try to still be finesse at times. You can’t rely on your body at all times so I try to work on my technique. I play extremely hard. I’m a big receiver. Playing with my cleats in the grass [is important]."
HE'S GOT HOPES FOR HIS ISLAND
Harry is a native of Saint Vincent, an island directly south of St. Lucia and due west of Barbados. It’s an 18-mile by 11-mile volcanic island with a population of about 100,000. Harry moved to Arizona with his grandmother when he was young in an effort to get better opportunities. His mother stayed on Saint Vincent. Asked if there was anything he’d like to do for his homeland, Harry said, “Give back in any way that I can. Definitely help my family. Help some people on the island. With this platform, I’ve been given I feel it’s my duty to do something with it. God has blessed me to be in this position so it would be a disservice if I didn’t give back and show appreciation. There’s a lot of talent on the island and it doesn’t get seen. Whatever I can do to help I’m more than willing to do that but it’s not something I’ve explored yet.” Personally, I see this as a tremendous opportunity for all of us to go visit Harry’s homeland next February. For reporting.
HE WASN'T LOVING HIS SERVICE EITHER
When Harry took the call from Bill Belichick saying the Patriots were about to draft him, Harry couldn’t hear. Bad service. I asked Harry about it at the end of his session. “I wasn’t losing my mind but I was definitely nervous,” he admitted. “I was like, ‘OK, they can’t get ahold of me. I hope they don’t go on to the next person.’ That was a bit of the fear I was having.” They did not.
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