The Bears acquired Harry in a trade with the New England Patriots earlier this week in which the Bears sent a 2024 7th round pick to New England.
CHICAGOOOO🗣 LET’S GET TO IT😤 pic.twitter.com/ZZzNkPNN6R— Keal (@NkealHarry15) July 13, 2022
It’s a 7th rounder in 2024 going to New England. https://t.co/npGaDigEQh— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 12, 2022
Harry, a former first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Patriots, has spent three seasons with the team in which he has compiled a total 598 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
These aren’t overwhelming receiving numbers, and Harry has had his fair share of issues with catching the football, but he does possess a few traits that fit the 2022 Bears roster perfectly. And they have nothing to do with the passing game.
Not only is Harry a big target for Justin Fields, standing at 6’4” and 225 pounds, he is also widely known for his exceptional run blocking. For much of the 2021 season, Harry was graded by Pro Football Focus as the second best run blocking wide receiver in the NFL.
The first? None other than his new teammate and Chicago Bear WR Byron Pringle.
Noticing a trend?
Highest graded run blocking Wide Receivers this season— PFF NE Patriots (@PFF_Patriots) November 18, 2021
1️⃣ Byron Pringle: 89.6
2️⃣ N’Keal Harry: 89.5 pic.twitter.com/pVvO7jtwT3
Head Coach Matt Eberflus has not been shy about wanting to run a system that plays to the strengths of his best players (something Matt Nagy failed to do), and now, GM Ryan Poles is being proactive in acquiring players that help him do that.
Justin Fields was the best quarterback in the NFL in QBR on designed rollouts last season, and with the speed and playmaking ability he has, it’s only right the Bears run an offense that moves him out of the pocket and goes run-heavy.
Justin Fields had the NFL’s highest passer rating with 138.5 on designed rollouts, and the Bears called them on just 19 of Fields’ attempts.— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) May 31, 2022
Matt Nagy is awful, Part 536,209,364.
That’s something the Bears have lacked with Allen Robinson in years past.
Allen Robinson gives up on what looks like an easy block, could have resulted in a Fields TD. https://t.co/oWPLfT0pRw— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) December 13, 2021
While Harry may not have unlocked his potential in New England, the potential is still there. Bill Belichick and the patriots liked what they saw in him before the 2019 NFL Draft, and felt so strongly that they picked him at the end of the first round.
Harry is the only wide receiver drafted in the first round by the Patriots in 22 years since Bill Belichick became the head coach.
With good size and speed down field, Harry is a great contrast to the rest of the receiving core from a physical standpoint. For just the cost of a future seventh round pick, the Bears improved their WR room greatly.
The Bears new-look receiving corps 🐻 pic.twitter.com/C05SNZ1SfT— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 13, 2022
There’s a long way to go, but I love the direction Ryan Poles has begun to take this team. For the first time in a long time, there is clear purpose and objective behind the Chicago Bears decision making.
N’Keal Harry is just another example.
Image via Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports