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N’Keal Harry to Giants? It’s a natural thought, but Giants should pass

Former first-round pick has not been productive in New England, and now wants out

NFL: New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals
N’Keal Harry
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

N’Keal Harry wants off the New England Patriots, and it is natural to think of the New York Giants as a landing spot for the big wide receiver.

Giants head coach Joe Judge was Harry’s position coach in New England after the Patriots drafted him in Round 1 (32nd) overall in 2019.

Harry suffered a preseason ankle injury that limited him to seven games as a rookie. Judge, though, was complementary toward how Harry approached his job while trying to rehab.

“As far as my exposure with him, he’s coming to work with a clear head. He’s very motivated and he’s engaged mentally in everything we’re doing,” Judge said.

“I think it’s just little things day to day sitting in the meeting rooms. The insightful things he’s asking: Why did this guy make an adjustment here? Could he do the same thing in his role? He’s kind of trying to look deeply into the details and that’s been a positive.”

All of that never translated to production on the field for the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Harry. In 21 games, he has only 45 catches for 414 yards — just 9.4 yards per catch — and four touchdowns. His career catch percentage is only 55.7.

I asked our Nick Falato for a quick thought on Harry. Here is what he said:

“A former first round pick who is familiar it with coach Judge. Big-bodied receiver with a large catch radius, who displayed the ability to haul in difficult passes while in college. Since entering the NFL, he’s struggled with NE’s playbook, creating separation, and overall consistency/reliability. His size, frame, and pedigree are intriguing, but he’s had a really rough start to his young NFL career.”

Here is the statement from Harry’s agent:

“For the past several months, I have been working in cooperation with the Patriots behind the scenes to put a plan in place to allow N’Keal to thrive in New England. Through two seasons, he has 86 targets, which obviously hasn’t met the expectations the Patriots and N’Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college. Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp. That is why I have informed the Patriots today I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client,” agent Jamal Tooson said in the statement.

“N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. 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.”

The Giants already spent big on free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay and used a first-round pick on Kadarius Toney. They still have quality receivers in Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.

They have a trio of reclamation projects in Dante Pettis, John Ross and Kelvin Benjamin (a combo wide receiver/tight end) who will compete for roster spots. They have Austin Mack and C.J. Board as depth options.

I don’t see any reason for the Giants to give up any of their precious 2022 draft assets for Harry.