Lions Connected to Former First-Round Pick

Dan Campbell

Getty Head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions have been linked to a former first-round pick.

The Detroit Lions added two wide receivers during draft weekend — one as a seventh-round pick and another as an undrafted free agent. But the team could still view receiver as an unfulfilled need.

At least that’s what NFL writer Brad Berreman of Fansided argued.

On a list of four potential free agents the Lions could sign after the draft, Berreman included former first-round pick and wide receiver N’Keal Harry.

“The Lions added Antoine Green with their final pick in the 2023 draft, and Chase Cota was given $80,00 as an undrafted free agent,” Berreman wrote. “But they still have few mortal locks for a 53-man roster spot at wide receiver, and of course Jameson Williams will be suspended for the first six games of the season.

“Harry had a nice college career at Arizona State, topping 1,000 yards in each of his last two seasons with 17 touchdowns over that span. He is a big receiver (6-foot-4, 225 pounds), and he is still just 25 years old.

“The Lions could still take a shot on someone of his ilk, and he would be incredibly cheap to sign.”

The New England Patriots drafted Harry at No. 32 overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft.

Lions Urged to Add Ex-First-Round WR N’Keal Harry

After going to the Patriots as the last pick of the first round, Harry disappointed. He caught just 12 passes for 105 yards as a rookie.

Then in 2020, he recorded 33 receptions for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns on 57 targets. Those statistics remain his career bests.

Harry didn’t even eclipse the 300-yard mark over the past two seasons combined. In 2022 with the Chicago Bears, he had 7 catches for 116 yards and 1 score in seven games. Harry finished the season on injured reserve with an ankle issue.

But as Berreman indicated, Harry showcased tremendous talent in college. At Arizona State, he recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as a sophomore and junior.

In 37 career college games, he posted 213 catches for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. As a junior, Harry averaged 14.9 yards per catch.

The Lions have a nice, young receiving core. Amon-Ra St. Brown led the group with 106 receptions and 1,161 receiving yards last season.

Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds, both of whom had at least 50 catches and 475 yards last year, will be back. Furthermore, the Lions signed veteran Marvin Jones in free agency.

But Williams will miss the first six games with a suspension, leaving open an opportunity for another receiver. Harry, who shouldn’t cost much, is an intriguing option as a reclamation project.

Previous Lions-Harry Connection

This isn’t the first time Harry has been connected to the Lions.

In July 2021, Harry requested a trade from the Patriots through his agent. Lions media almost immediately identified Detroit as a possible trade destination.

“Should the Detroit Lions, who arguably need an upgrade at the wide receiver position, consider trading for Harry?” Sports Illustrated’s John Maakaron asked.

“New Lions signal-caller Jared Goff would benefit mightily from another player who is looking to make a name for himself and to prove critics wrong.”

Obviously, a trade never happened. Harry remained in New England another season until the Patriots traded him to the Bears last summer.

Available again, this time in free agency, the Lions have the opportunity to add Harry for just the cheap contract it would cost to sign him.

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