Patriots WR To Miss Multiple Weeks With Injury

Getty N'Keal Harry

The New England PatriotsN’Keal Harry is fortunate.

There is reportedly no structural damage, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, to his injured left shoulder after he hurt it diving for a Mac Jones pass in Thursday night’s 35-0 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, Harry is expected to miss four weeks and won’t be back until Week 2 of the regular season. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport had the story:

In light of this report, there are some serious questions to consider about how this could affect his spot on the Patriots’ 53-man roster.


Did Harry Do Enough to Make the 53-Man Roster?

By many accounts, Harry has been one of the standouts during Patriots training camp. Harry has seemingly become more comfortable using his size and strength to gain advantage against defenders, and he’s had a number of eye-opening plays in practice.

Sports Illustrated’s Mike D’Abate wrote about Harry’s performance, the potential impact it could have on the roster and Harry’s previous trade request:

Harry’s performance during training camp has been widely praised. He has looked sharp, strong and engaged. While known for his ability to make physical, contested catches, Harry has increased his speed and seems to be running routes with greater efficiency. Still, the Pats wideout has yet to demonstrate his success in a game setting. Whether he has done enough to convince the Patriots of his worthiness of a roster spot is still a matter of conjecture. Given his status with the team, as well as his camp performance, it is unlikely that he will be cut. It is noteworthy that Harry had requested a trade from New England prior to the start of camp. With the news of his shoulder injury keeping him out of action beyond the start of the regular season, finding a trade partner for Harry’s services might become more complicated.

It seems unlikely the Patriots would trade Harry before the season. As good as he has been in training camp, he hasn’t lit anything on fire during the Patriots’ two preseason games. More than likely, if the Patriots were interested in honoring his request, they may want to have him make some plays to drive up his value a bit more before trying to gauge what kind of return is available for him.


Players Who Might Benefit From Harry’s Absence

While you never want to see a player hurt, Harry’s injury opens the door for players like Kristian Wilkerson to make a mark. Wilkerson had been a hot name through training camp, but last week, he suffered from a case of the dropsies.

Despite his issues handling passes, Harry’s injury could create a need for him to make the 53-man roster initially. Perhaps he’d only be holding a spot for Harry until the veteran returns, but it would still represent the biggest opportunity Wilkerson will have had to make a mark with the team.

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