Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry wants out of New England. NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported Harry on Tuesday officially asked for a trade from the team that made him the No. 32 pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The 49ers are unlikely to be among the teams kicking tires on the former Arizona State star.
San Francisco could be in the market for a wide receiver upgrade depending on what their roster looks like in camp. They have a slew of options to work in as the No. 3 receiver behind Brandon Aiyuk, another former ASU luminary, and Deebo Samuel, who made four picks after Harry in the 2019 draft.
There’s no guarantee that either of those options will come out as a viable No. 3 threatened by a club with Super Bowl aspirations, but Harry’s career to date hasn’t offered many reasons to believe he’s a burgeoning star in his own right. position.
Harry built a stellar career with the Sun Devils, scoring 213 balls for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns in 37 games. At 6-4, 220 pounds, he influenced games at every level in college and brought in enough size to be a bona fide No. 1 receiver in the NFL.
However, his professional career did not go according to plan. Harry has 45 catches for 415 yards and four touchdowns in 21 games, and his 5.11 yards per target ranks last of the 22 receivers drafted in 2019 to have at least one reception. His receptions are number 12 on that list. His yardage ranks 14th and his 9.2 yards per reception is 21st.
The 49ers already missed the opportunity to chase Julio Jones into the trading market, not wanting to further jeopardize their future drafts, which are already flimsy after trading QB Trey Lance in this year’s draft.
“You have to build a team and it’s not just from year to year, you have to build it for the future. And, you know, just think about how hard it is to go into checkers,” Shanahan told reporters in early June. “You know, you never know what you can do in free agency, who you’re going to lose, who you can bring in. You’ve got a lot of guys on one-year contracts, that sort of thing. Everyone knows we don’t have a first-round pick. But what happens when you have no choice in the second round and no choice in the fourth round and you lose the number of guys in free agency that you can never count on for sure, and then you end up going to a draft and you have to get six getting new spots, but you only have a third and a fifth round, it’s kinda hard to build your team that way and do it consistently.”
Even at the low cost of a late pick, Harry hasn’t done enough to warrant the 49ers’ attention. Shanahan is not fond of big, athletic receivers with an advantage, preferring the ability to consistently separate and influence games from multiple spots.
The college version of Harry could, but his game hasn’t translated to the pros. Maybe there’s another Pro Bowl caliber player out there. Harry is hugely talented, but the 49ers are not in a position to take on a project. They need a player who can help them right away when they hand out another draft pick.
If the market is limited and Harry can be drawn for a late round trade or a future pick for the sixth or seventh round, then the 49ers may be able to enter. That particular situation aside, Harry probably won’t be the player San Francisco is aiming for if they want to upgrade their receiving corps.