The New England Patriots are expected to heavily target the wide receiver position in the 2013 NFL Draft, and one player that they have interviewed is Robert Woods of the USC Trojans. Once considered the second-best prospect at the position behind Keenan Allen, the former Pac-12 standout isn’t even considered a first-round selection.
Woods, per a scout who spoke to The Times, is “an ideal slot guy” in this league, and I completely agree with him. At USC, Woods developed an innate hook-up on short and intermediate routes with Matt Barkley, who is also proficient in that range. I think Woods will be a very good slot receiver at the pro-level, but the fact that he is mainly a slot guy doesn’t make him an ideal fit for the New England Patriots now that the Pats and Wes Welker are making significant progress in contract talks.
I am expecting them to go after a wide receiver who is more of a true No. 1 guy and can stretch the field- a wide receiver who is more of a playmaker. Tennessee Volunteers WR Cordarrelle Patterson can be that guy, but I doubt he slips to the Patriots with the 29th pick and I think he is an overrated player. Patterson is not the best wideout in this class- Allen is- and he is starting to get grossly overrated. I love his speed and athleticism, but he can’t run routes and has iffy hands. Those are the two most important things for a wide receiver, and I think what receivers do before the catch is much more important than what they do after it. The latter is important, but it gets overrated in pre-draft talk.
Patterson might not be a good fit for the New England Patriots due to questions over his intelligence, and the Pats playbook is one of the most difficult to get down. A scout praised his playmaking ability but also showed concerns about his intelligence, “He’s explosive. He’s dynamic. He runs consistent 4.4s, I’m just not sure how smart he is. You’re going to have to keep it simple for him. But the kid is really dynamic.”
I would still keep him on the Pats radar, though, due to his playmaking ability.
The Times also received information from a scout on Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton, who would be a nice pick for the Patriots in the second round, if he falls to them there (I am not sold on him being a first-rounder).
Neither is the scout, who called Patton a JAG, “I’m not a big fan. The best he’s going to be is a No. 3 for you, if that.”
Patton gets underrated not because he comes from a smaller school, but because he is another wide receiver whose best ability comes before the catch as opposed to after it. He is one of those wideouts who gets underrated in the draft process, because he is solid at everything but doesn’t stand out in any one aspect. Patton is a safe pick, and he is somebody who could be a solid, No. 2 wide receiver by moving the chains and occasionally going deep and making a play. I would definitely keep him on the Patriots radar.
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