There’s been much ado about the wide receiver corps for the Detroit Lions this offseason. That after the new regime in the Motor City allowed the majority of last year’s starters to leave and replaced them with rookies and free-agent veterans signed to one-year deals.
The Lions are expected to enter the upcoming regular season with one of the worst-rated receiver corps in the entire NFL. And that doesn’t seem to bode well for new quarterback Jared Goff entering his first season under center for Detroit.
Goff and new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn appear to be pinning their hopes on veteran Tyrell Williams returning to 2016 form, rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown becoming the next Cooper Kupp or someone out of this relative group of unknowns suddenly emerging as the NFL’s next superstar wideout.
But the Lions may have been just gift-wrapped an opportunity to add some much-needed talent to their desolate receiver corps. That following the news that third-year wide receiver N’Keal Harry has formally requested a trade from New England Patriots.
When Harry was selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Pats (32nd overall), the talented 6-foot-4 wide receiver out of Arizona State was coming to a very different team than the one that’s now in New England.
The Patriots were fresh off a Super Bowl victory and Harry represented an exciting new target for legendary quarterback Tom Brady. Unfortunately, a nagging ankle injury limited the rookie wideout to seven games in 2019, where he recorded only 12 catches off of 24 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Last year, Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots’ offense changed to better fit new quarterback Cam Newton. The 23-year old Harry would continue to underwhelm in his second season. That’s despite playing nearly 60% of the offensive snaps. He’d only recorded 33 receptions for 309 yards and two scores.
Potentially on the roster bubble this summer, Harry’s agent is looking to get his client traded out of New England and into a new environment where he might thrive with a fresh start. And it likely wouldn’t cost very much to acquire him. Detroit would seem to be the ideal landing spot if Harry wants to instantly compete for a starting role.
Coming out of college, N’Keal Harry was viewed as an aggressive 50/50 ball receiver who uses his body well but would struggle with separation at the next level. And that’s what he’s been so far in his young career. If Anthony Lynn can find better ways to utilize Harry’s skillset, the Lions could benefit from having his first-round talent at a position of serious need in Motown.