N'Keal Harry is 'definitely improving' but still has 'long way to go' to return to Patriots

Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry during mandatory minicamp at the Gillette Stadium practice field. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
Jun 5, 2019; Foxborough, MA: Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry during minicamp at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

The long wait for 2019 first-round pick N'Keal Harry to make his Patriots debut is almost over.

Placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury to begin his first pro season, Harry has been practicing with the Patriots for the last two weeks, and is eligible to make his NFL debut when the Patriots visit the Ravens in primetime this Sunday.

But that jump to the 53-man roster and into action remains a work in progress, according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"I think N'Keal's been working hard," Belichick offered Tuesday. "Even though he hasn't been able to participate in practice until recently, he's been able to do other things – train, study, watch film, keep up with the terminology and game plan adjustments that we make. And then more recently, he has been able to get on the field and primarily take scout team reps but also do other things, individual drills and some of the other competitive drills and so forth that we've done.

"It's definitely improving."

The Patriots did not make a trade for any additional offensive help by Tuesday's trade deadline (though the team did add veteran wideout Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons last week), and cut tight end Eric Tomlinson on Tuesday, which would seem to be an indication that the 21-year-old Harry's return to the main roster is both expected and imminent.

But Belichick, as you'd expect, continues to take it all on a day-by-day basis.

"I'd say each day, as you would expect, [Harry's shown] a little more improvement and confidence and taking things a little bit further than the day before," Belichick noted. "But he's missed a lot of time. He still has a long way to go. He's definitely trending in the right direction. We just have to evaluate where it is and what helps the team the most here."

Harry, drafted with the No. 32 overall pick in 2019, totaled 73 catches for 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games with Arizona State last year.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.