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2019 NFL Draft Prospect: N’Keal Harry

If you’ve paid attention to college football over the last three seasons the name N’Keal Harry probably rings a bell. At 6 feet 4 inches, 213 pounds, he’s been tormenting opposing secondaries since he was a true freshman in 2016. Harry is viewed by some evaluators as one of the top offensive prospects in the 2019 draft class. Does his profile supporting this lofty billing?

THE EARLY YEARS

A standout at Chandler High School in Arizona, Harry ranked in the top-10 among wide receivers nationally according to 247 Sports. He received a handful of offers, primarily from Pac-12 programs, but eventually settled on Arizona State. As a freshman in 2016, he put up a 58-659-5 receiving line accounting for 21 percent of the Sun Devils’ receiving yards and touchdowns. He also scored two rushing TDs on just three carries averaging 23 yards per carry.

2017 AND BEYOND

Harry saw a significant jump in production as a sophomore in 2017, accounting for 34 percent of his team’s receiving production. Crossing the 30 percent production threshold has been shown to be an important indicator of future success for WR prospects, especially when it comes at an early age. As a junior in 2018, Harry again put up a solid line, ending the season with 73-1,088-9 as a receiver. As one of just 11 college WRs with at least 2,500 yards receiving and 20 TDs over the last three seasons, Harry checks the box for raw statistical production.

DRAFT PROSPECTS

I briefly mentioned the importance of age-adjusted production earlier but it bears closer inspection. Referencing research from Anthony Amico regarding breakout age for WRs we see that Harry narrowly misses the first cutoff in Amico’s regression tree regarding adjusted breakout age (20.2). Combine that with his career TD-per-game (0.59) and yards per receptions (13.6) metrics and he falls in the least favorable node in the entire study.

AB07611C-3BAE-4AA3-8A24-79C40A77B627

An earlier study from Amico, however, points to Harry having a strong chance of future success because of his age-20 breakout season and the likelihood of him ending up as a top-100 pick in this year’s draft. Historical prospects who broke out before their 21st birthday recorded a WR2 or better season at least once in their first three NFL years 35 percent of the time:

SplitHitsTotal%Average Draft
BA <=20183946.2%38.1
20 < BA <= 21123435.3%46.4
21 < BA <= 2242119.0%52.3
BA > 221156.7%62.3

Another area where Harry comes extremely close to elite territory is rookie season age. Blair Andrews showed that younger rookies have a greater chance of success, all else being equal. Harry will technically turn 22 before the official end of his rookie season, but his age is still a strong asset:

wrdraftage_top24season

Andrews, along with others at RotoViz, have also shown that WRs who declare early for the draft have a greater likelihood of future fantasy success compared to their counterparts who use all their college eligibility before entering the NFL. As a true junior, Harry has a 24 percent chance of reaching 200 PPR points within his first two NFL season based on historical data:

As a potential first-round draft pick, Harry is a strong bet to become a reliable fantasy asset. His age and college production are impressive and according to NFL Draft Scout, he’s the second-best WR in the draft class. As of today, Harry is not only my WR1, but he’s also my top overall prospect in the entire 2019 class.

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