I haven’t seen him on the field yet in a game, but as the preseason reports roll in, I’m getting more confident N’Keal Harry won’t be a big factor this year. I’m not particularly confident he’ll ever be a big star.

There was a report about Harry dropping 4 passes in one day at a practice. Meanwhile, there have been separate dispatches indicating the team has liked what it’s seen out of Maurice Harris (formerly of Washington) and unheralded youngster Jakobi Meyers. Braxton Berrios could be ready to contend for a role.

Harry, of course, was a first-round pick – the first receiver chosen in the first round by Bill Belichick (and he’s been with the Patriots for 20 drafts).

But the Patriots haven’t had much luck drafting and developing wide receivers. In Belichick’s tenure, they’ve used eight draft picks in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds looking for wide receivers, and none of those guys has ever had a top-20 fantasy season. Only one of them has ever ranked in the top 35. That would be 2005, when Deion Branch caught 78 passes for 998 yards and 5 TDs.

The Patriots have had more luck with wide receivers selected in the late rounds -- both Julian Edelman and David Givens were 7th-round picks who paid off.

2002Deion Branch (2nd)4348911.42103.968
2003Deion Branch (2nd)5780314.13156.436
2003Bethel Johnson (2nd)1620913.1253.796
2004Deion Branch (2nd)3545413.04104.460
2004Bethel Johnson (2nd)1017417.4140.2107
2005Deion Branch (2nd)7899812.85207.822
2005Bethel Johnson (2nd)46716.8116.7139
2006Chad Jackson (2nd)1315211.7348.4105
2009Brandon Tate (3rd)00--01.1173
2010Brandon Tate (3rd)2443218.03103.471
2010Taylor Price (3rd)34113.707.1163
2011Deion Branch (2nd)5170213.85151.244
2012Deion Branch (2nd)161459.1030.5127
2013Aaron Dobson (2nd)3751914.04112.961
2013Josh Boyce (4th)912113.4021.1135
2014Aaron Dobson (2nd)33812.706.8168
2015Aaron Dobson (2nd)1314110.9027.1139
2016Malcolm Mitchell (4th)3240112.5496.150
2016Malcolm Mitchell (4th)00--00.0--
2018N'Keal Harry (1st)??????

Maybe Harry can turn things around. No doubt he’s working at it. But if I were in a draft today (either for 2019 or dynasty purposes) I wouldn’t be considering selecting Harry before a couple of other rookie receivers. Parris Campbell and DK Metcalf both seem to be thriving.

—Ian Allan