Patriots' personnel director Nick Caserio explains why Pats drafted WR Harry


On Thursday night, the New England Patriots selected wide receiver N'Keal Harry with the 32nd pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

It's the first time the Patriots have taken a wide receiver in the first round in the Belichick era. Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio explained the team's decision in a press conference shortly after the first round of the draft wrapped up:

"We ended up kind of sitting where we were there at #32 and making a pick with Harry, the receiver from Arizona State. [He's been a] productive player over a three year period...he's a big, strong receiver with good hands [and he's] good with the ball after the catch. We'll get him out here, try to get him in the program and get him moving. The expectation will no different than with any other player—to come in and get started and build a foundation and then go from there. Right now, our situation is that we have five picks tomorrow [Friday] we'll see how it goes. Certainly there's some opportunities to move around a little bit. We do have a little flexibility relative to the picks. We'll evaluate the board and the opportunities that are there, and we'll have some decisions to make over the next couple days, and we'll see how it goes."

Caserio then took questions from reporters.

More Patriots: See inside Patriots' war room as team picks WR N'Keal Harry

In response to a question about what the Patriots learned about Harry, a 6'2" 228 pounder from ASU during his visit, Caserio said that the team, "...Had some other interactions with him, but he came in and presented himself well, a very mature kid, [and] seems like a pretty smart kid."

Caserio then elaborated on the fact that drafted players are behind other players who have already been on the team for a while, and that rookies need to be brought up to speed so they are given a chance to compete well in training camp and over the summer. He rejected the idea that the continuity of playing in certain schemes mattered very much with respect to Harry or any drafted player, saying that the Patriots scheme, camp, and practices present a learning curve to all new players.

In response to a question about the fact the Patriots have never taken a wide receiver in the first round, and what made Harry special, Caserio (sticking to the philosophy of coach Bill Belichick) dismissed the notion that what happened in the past had any relevance.

Caserio was asked, that given the fact that most of the top receivers in the draft were still on the board when the Patriots picked at #32, what differentiated Harry from the pack. 

Caserio did not go into detail, merely saying that Harry "made the most sense."

More Patriots: Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards likens N'Keal Harry to Dez Bryant

On an interesting note, Caserio said that the trades that took place shortly before the Patriots went on the clock with the 32nd pick, (the Falcons jumped the Patriots to take OT Kaleb McGary with the 31st pick, and the Seahawks and Giants shuffled the deck chairs at 29 and 30 to take DE L.J. Collier and CB Deandre Baker, respectively) did not affect the Patriots' plans to take a WR, in this case Harry, at #32.

On an even more interesting note, as it currently stands, it looks like the Patriots have the most remaining picks in the 2019 NFL Draft at 11 picks, so Caserio & Co. will certainly have their hands full in the next 48 hours.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Contact Us