Can Harry be NFL’s most successful Canadian?

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Toronto-born N’Keal Harry had a tough adjustment to life in the NFL during his rookie season for the New England Patriots. The 22-year-old became the first wide receiver to be selected by Bill Belichick in the first round of the NFL Draft during his 20-year tenure in charge of the franchise. However, it did not yield a successful outcome in his first taste of the professional game.

He was not the first rookie wideout to struggle for the Patriots playing with Tom Brady and the complex system employed by the six-time Super Bowl champions. However, there were high hopes for Harry following an impressive college career at Arizona State University, with the Patriots using the 32nd overall pick to acquire his services. An injury during training camp ruled him out of the opening eight weeks of the season after the Patriots opted to place him on injured reserve.

On his return to the field, he struggled to build a chemistry with Brady in the offense, notching only 12 receptions for 105 yards, including two touchdowns. He could have added a third in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 14, which was incorrectly ruled out of bounds by the officials. Despite, making progress towards the end of the campaign, his impact was nowhere near as meaningful as other players from his draft class. A.J Brown, Deebo Samuel and Terry McLaurin were all outstanding in their respective rookie seasons after being selected lower in the draft than Harry.

As a result, there will be an air of expectation for Harry to take a significant stride forward in his second year in the NFL. Matters could be complicated by the future of Brady, whose contract with New England is void at the end of the league year, potentially making the 42-year-old a free agent for the first time in his career. If Brady remains, however, Harry will have to get on the same page as his quarterback to produce on the field, while, if he leaves, the 22-year-old will have to connect with a new signal-caller and a new offensive system.

Canadian fans of the NFL and the Patriots can still have hope that the team will continue to thrive even if Brady departs, with New England currently being backed by sports bettors as one of the leading contenders for Super Bowl LV. It’s difficult to find the best value on Belichick’s men due to their success, although changes could affect their prices.

Harry’s development will be key to their future hopes given his importance in an offense that is aging. Julian Edelman will be 34 next season, while Mohamed Sanu failed to hit the ground running following his trade move during the middle of last

season. Canadians will be interested to see whether he can make the grade, as there has not been a great deal of players to emerge in the NFL from north of the border, especially at the wide receiver position. Nate Burleson is perhaps the standout, and he enjoyed a solid 12-year career with three teams – the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and the Detroit Lions. He recorded 5,630 receiving yards and 39 touchdowns, laying down a marker that will be difficult for Harry to top for longevity.

The 22-year-old seemingly has the physical skills to be successful in the NFL, but whether he can put it all together with the mental side of the game will determine whether he can be the most notable Canadian to have played in the league. Not to mention one that will thrive under Belichick in New England.

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