FOXBORO — For the first time since 2000, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots drafted a WR in the first round. Evan Lazar and Alex Barth break down the selection of N’Keal Harry, and what fans can expect from him in 2019 and beyond.
Here’s what Harry had to say in bis introductory conference call with the media.
PATRIOTS WIDE RECEIVER N’KEAL HARRY
April 25, 2019
Q: How do you feel about catching passes from Tom Brady?
NH: I’m extremely excited. I’m just ecstatic to come in, work hard, constantly improve and just live up to the expectations.
Q: Did you have any sort of pre-draft contact with the Patriots, and if so, what was that like?
NH: Yes, I had a visit with the Patriots and I felt that it went really well. 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.
Q: What kind of clicked for you with the Patriots?
NH: I just feel like the way I retained some of the information as far as some of the plays they were going over with me. Also, I just felt like coming in, I’ll be expected to know a lot and be prepared, and I’m ready for that.
Q: Did you feel like you were going to be drafted either at 32 to the Patriots or at 33 to Arizona?
NH: I did going in. I just had a feeling. Obviously, I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I did just kind of have a feeling.
Q: Can you lean on your college teammate Christian Sam at all to help get you acclimated to what life is going to be like in New England?
NH: Yes, most definitely. That will be one of the guys that I talk to right off the bat, just trying to get some advice, just trying to do well and be prepared and know the expectations and everything.
Q: You’re the first receiver Bill Belichick has drafted in the first round since he’s become coach of the Patriots. What does that mean to you?
NH: It means the world to me. 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.
Q: Coach Herm Edwards compared you a little bit to Dez Bryant. Is there a guy who is in the league now or was in the league the last handful of years who you model your game after a little bit?
NH: It’s hard to say. I have a lot of respect for everybody that has played at the NFL level. I have so much to learn, I have so much to handle coming into the game, coming into the NFL. It’s hard to really give a comparison.
Q: How would you describe your game?
NH: I would describe my game as very passionate. I play with a lot of passion. Whenever that ball is in the air, I’ll sacrifice anything to go get it and I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win. Anything Coach wants me to do, whether it’s on special teams, offense, anything, I’ll do it just to do my part and to be one piece of the puzzle in helping us win.
Q: Do you hope to expand your route tree when you get to New England?
NH: That’s not really up to me too much – it’s all on what the coaches want from me. I’m going to come in with the mindset of being very coachable. 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.
Q: You played for Herm Edwards, who spent a lot of time in the NFL. Did he discuss NFL life with you? How do you feel like playing for him prepared you for this next step you’re about to take?
NH: Yeah, Herm helped me a lot with some of the conversations he had with me this past year. He was just telling me that I just had to always be ready, I had to take everything to a whole new level – the way I study, the way I do everything. It’s obviously a new level, and I have to prove myself all over again.
Q: What do you remember about meeting Bill Belichick
NH: What do I remember? He was a very great man. 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 tomorrow, as well.
Q: What jokes did he tell you?
NH: We were just talking, just commentating. I can’t really tell you exactly what we were talking about, but we were just having a good time just [conversing].
Q: The Patriots have a couple bigger receivers who have been really good after the catch in Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas. Are those guys you have admired over the years, and what do you think you can learn from them?
NH: Yeah, definitely. I’ve admired every player that’s ever played in the NFL, no matter what round they got drafted, no matter how long they played the game. If they played in the NFL, I’ve admired them, and those are dudes that have been in the NFL and have played at a high level. So, going in, I’ll definitely be leaning on them, asking them how to get better and just how to improve day by day.
Q: What was the moment like for you when you got the call and found out you were going to the reigning Super Bowl champions?
NH: It was so surreal, especially for me, waiting that long and getting to the end of the first round. I was honestly starting to think maybe I had to start getting ready for Day 2. So, when I got that call, I tried not to be emotional, but I couldn’t really hold it back at that point. I just felt so blessed, I was so thankful for the Patriots organization. I was just thanking God and I’m just ready to get to work.
Q: Where did you watch the draft?
NH: I was with my family. We actually rented out a house in Scottsdale, so a lot of my family was here. They actually got their visas not too long ago, so they flew in last week. A lot of my friends were here – you know, people that have just been by my side since Day 1. So, it was an extremely special moment for all of us.
Q: About how many people were with you?
NH: I would say close to 50, 50-60 people.
Q: Can you tell us where your family is from?
NH: My family is from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s a small island in the Caribbean. So, my grandmother and I and one of my aunties have just been by ourselves out in Arizona. I’ve been extremely blessed with the people that have been around me, with the company that has been around me. I feel like I was blessed with people that have the same mindset as me, people that want to improve, people that want to learn, people that want to grow. So, you know, God has really blessed me throughout the years.
Q: Are there any other NFL players from St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
NH: No, I’m the first one.
Q: When did you first start playing football?
NH: I first started playing football – you know, I was playing flag at a very young age, probably like 7 years old, and then I played tackle for a year or two when I was probably about 10 years old and I had stopped all the way up until my freshman year of high school. That’s kind of when it picked back up and that’s kind of when I really got settled into the sport.
Q: Do you have any preference of playing in the slot or on the outside, or do you like to move around a lot like you did at ASU?
NH: No, no preference. I just want to do my part to help win, whatever that is, whatever that looks like. I just want to come in and be one of those players that Coach can rely on no matter what he tells me. That’s what I know is expected of me, and that’s what I’m ready for.
Q: But you do have the versatility and skillset to play inside and outside?
NH: Yes sir, I do. So, whatever Coach wants me to do – if he wants me to do one or the other or both – I wouldn’t hesitate to jump at it.