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Should the Rams Trade for N’Keal Harry?

While it’s true that the NFL gods giveth, it is also true that they taketh away. On the heels of the excitement following the announcement that receiver DeSean Jackson agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams, it was announced that former Rams’ receiver Josh Reynolds signed a contract with the Tennessee Titans. Reynolds has been more than serviceable for the Rams, especially last season where he saw an explosion in production, posting career-highs in receptions (52) and receiving yards (618).

While he will surely be missed along with the many other players the Rams have had to part ways during this offseason, the loss of Reynolds is not necessarily a cause for panic, with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, up-and-comer Van Jefferson and now DeSean Jackson on the roster.

However, fans of the team cannot help but wonder if the Rams are doing all they can to ensure that the move to acquire quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions will be utilized to its full potential. All sorts of NFL Free Agency and trade scenarios have been offered up in recent days. One that is really picking up steam is the Rams are possibly interested in New England Patriots receiver N’Keal Harry, the 32nd overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

n'keal harry rams trade
Credit: Matthew J. Lee/ Boston Glob

Should the Rams Trade for N’Keal Harry?

For starters, let’s put this situation in context. In a somewhat shocking turn of events, the Patriots have been by far one of the busiest teams this offseason, shelling out big contract after big contract to a variety of players in hopes that they can reverse the fortunes (or lack thereof) of last year’s train-wreck of a season. This sudden flurry of activity is a complete 180 degree turn from how the Patriots franchise usually conducts business, historically preferring to sit back quietly while other flailing teams vie to spend big money on the top talent in the free agency pool and typically using most of their cap space to target more homegrown players. But just speaking in terms of pass-catching talent, the Patriots have already agreed to terms with receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, as well as tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

All of these signings seemingly leaves Harry as the odd man out, and reports have surfaced that the Patriots are openly shopping the former Arizona State receiver. Although it is tempting to use the “bust” label when one considers that Harry has only amassed 414 total receiving yards in his two seasons in New England, that label might be slightly premature at this point. Coincidentally, Harry’s best single outing so far could quite possibly be his performance against the Rams in their Week 14, 24-3, victory over the Patriots, where Harry came down with three catches on four targets for a total of 49 yards.

While the Rams now seemingly have a receiver who can take the top off the defense in Jackson, having a tall, lengthy receiver who can go up and snag 50-50 balls would be a nice addition to help round out this new Stafford-led offense. It may be worth a straight-up exchange for a sixth or seventh rounder — even considering how little draft capital the Rams currently have.

Should the Rams Target WR in the Draft?

On the other hand, the 2021 NFL Draft class promises to be one of the deepest in terms of receiver talent, so it might behoove the Rams to stay put and target one of the many talented receiving options that could definitely be steals in the later rounds. Names like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, Alabama’s Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman will be long gone off the boards before the Rams should seriously start considering a selecting a receiver, but there will be plenty of tall, lengthy talent towards the lower rounds of the draft.

Anyone that can say with a straight face that they are not intrigued in the slightest by the idea of acquiring a former first-round talent for a fraction of the cost, regardless of his lackluster output to date, is most likely lying. But when one considers the dearth of options that will be available at the receiver position in the 2021 NFL Draft, it becomes much more of a nail-biting decision whether or not to deal for the likes of N’Keal Harry. On the flipside, the Rams have been known a time or two to trade draft picks like they are Skittles, so nothing can be ruled out completely.


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