New England Patriots pick Toronto-born receiver N’Keal Harry in first round of NFL draft

Toronto-born receiver N’Keal Harry was selected in the first round, 32nd overall by the New England Patriots in the 2019 NFL draft.

Harry was the best national receiver prospect on either side of the border.

Harry was born in Toronto in 1997 and the family moved to the Caribbean Island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines when he was a child. Grandmother Felna Harry raised him in Arizona where Harry developed into a two-sport star in football and basketball.

The phenom receiver was a five-star recruit who commanded offers from a number of premier NCAA Division I programs, including Oregon, USC, Washington, Texas A&M, Texas, and Wisconsin. But it came down to a decision between Arizona and Arizona State and the Sun Devils won out.

After earning a starting role his rookie year, Harry produced two 1,000-yard seasons as a sophomore and junior. In three years, Harry racked up 213 receptions for 2,889 yards with 22 touchdowns in 37 games for ASU and two first-team PAC 12 all-conference honours. He declared early for the NFL draft after the 2018 season.

The 21-year-old earned an invite to the Senior Bowl – standing out during the week of practices – and NFL combine where Harry checked in at six-foot-two, 228 pounds. Harry recorded 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, ran a 4.53 40-yard time, lept 38.5-inches on the vertical and 10-foot, two-inch broad jump. Strong, fast and explosive numbers for the large frame Harry carries.

Harry was unanimously rated among the top receiver prospects available in the NFL draft. The Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks brought Harry in for private workouts or visits prior to the draft.

Because he was born in Toronto, Harry became a Canadian citizen immediately, but he has yet to be been added to the CFL’s list of draft-eligible prospects. With millions of dollars awaiting on his first NFL contract, Harry doesn’t necessarily need the CFL designation.

Should Harry become eligible to be picked in the CFL draft, it would be worth risking a late-round choice just to have Harry’s rights. There are several examples of top NFL picks who ended up in Canada, including current Argos pass catcher Armanti Edwards who was a third round pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Dwayne Jarrett, who signed with the Riders but retired prior to training camp ending in 2012, went in the second round, 45th overall in 2007. R.J. Soward was a first rounder in 2000 and played three season for the Argos (2004-2006).

The talented Canadian-born prospect is worth tracking as Harry makes the jump to the pro game with the Patriots.