The New England Patriots have worked out former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Legedu Naanee, per Aaron Wilson, and it’s a move that is extremely interesting. After all, the Dolphins did, essentially, replace Naanee with former Patriot Jabar Gaffney; largely due to Naanee’s underwhelming play.
That’s the thing, he’s just not a good player. Although the workout reportedly “went well”, I’m skeptical as to whether Naanee can help the Patriots out. He appeared in three games for the ‘Fins this season and costed the team 18.8 points per EPA. That’s right, the Dolphins were clearly worse off with Naanee even though he only received five targets.
EPA is far from the “be all, end all”, and it’s an unproven advanced stat. But he only caught one pass on five targets this year and also fumbled the ball.
This isn’t just a small sample size thing either, because Naanee was poor in the preseason and was horrible last season for the Carolina Panthers. I cover the Panthers as well, and I can tell you first hand that he was a huge detriment to their receiving game. He costed the Panthers 3.1 points last season (-0.66 WPA as well) after catching barely over 50% of what was thrown at him.
Naanee doesn’t have the worst hands out there, but he is a very unproductive wide receiver who isn’t an upgrade over Deion Branch either. In fact, I would much rather have Greg Salas than him. Maybe the Pats see something they like in Naanee, but I, frankly, think he stinks and only brings value to the table as a seldom-used deep threat who gets maybe two targets per game. He can give the Pats depth and the workout went well, but I’d rather give a spot on the 53-man roster to a younger player with more upside or a veteran player with a better track record.
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