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Super Bowl Champion Patriots Draft WR N'Keal Harry After Rob Gronkowski Retired

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2019

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 10:  Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils carries in the second half against the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. The Arizona State Sun Devils won 31-28. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The New England Patriots drafted former Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry with the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft Thursday. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

With the LAST pick of the first round the Patriots select N'Keal Harry https://t.co/KoLYOSiT52

Harry fills an obvious void in New England after Rob Gronkowski retired.

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

For the first time under Bill Belichick, the #Patriots use a first round selection on a wide receiver, grabbing Arizona State's N'Keal Harry. They had him in for a visit.

Jamey Eisenberg @JameyEisenberg

Love this pick of N'Keal Harry to the #Patriots. No Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon, Chris Hogan or Cordarrelle Patterson. Tom Brady needs targets, and he got one.

Michael Fabiano @Michael_Fabiano

The Patriots select ... N’Keal Harry. Digging that pick!

Kevin Duffy @KevinRDuffy

Bill Belichick takes a WR in the first round for the first time. It's N'Keal Harry of Arizona State. Big, physical presence on the outside. 6-2, 228.

Josep Ribé 📍 @J_Ribbles

N’Keal Harry has some Gronk-size shoes to fill! Great pick by New England. Big possession receiver that @TomBrady will enjoy throwing passes to until he retires.

Dustyn Waite @CallMeDBlock

Brady loses favorite Red Zone threat with Gronk retiring take N'Keal Harry with pick 32 to close out the night https://t.co/ROVnD5EOmB

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

N'Keal Harry is a GREAT PICK by Belichick for Tom Brady. Ran 4.5 at 230 pounds. Just a BEAST after catch. Athletic and powerful. Every time I watched ArizSt, he popped. Finally, a bonafide wideout target for the Greatest QB Ever. Congrats, Tom.

Brandon Baer @BaerWisdom

N’Keal Harry is going to be a nightmare the exact same way that Gronk was. You’re about to see their scheme become so much harder to defend.

Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller had Harry as the second-rated receiving prospect in this year's class.

Harry became an impact player for the Sun Devils from the moment he stepped on campus. Over the course of his three years in Tempe, Arizona, he hauled in 213 catches for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. That includes a 1,088-yard season in 2018 that saw him record a career-high nine receiving touchdowns.

His presence wasn't just felt on the outside, though. He proved to be a versatile playmaker, finding the end zone as a passer, a runner and a returner. Last year, the Arizona State junior earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors as a receiver (also did so as a sophomore) and second-team honors as a return specialist.

The 6'2", 228-pound receiver ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in March.

NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein noted Harry's strong hands and size made him one of the top receiver prospects in this year's draft class. Now, he will have a chance to catch passes from Tom Brady and take the Patriots' passing attack to the next level.

Even coming off a Super Bowl victory, New England continues to look to surround Brady with playmakers on the offensive side of the football.

With Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Co., the Patriots' passing attack ranked eighth in the NFL a season ago. Between Gronk's retirement and Gordon facing an uncertain future, Harry should make his presence felt in his new surroundings.

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