This past week the Patriots signed former Vikings receiver Michael Jenkins. This move came as a bit of a surprise, and it is a solid move in my mind. The Patriots really need some depth at the receiver position, and that is exactly what they get with Jenkins. They get a solid player that knows the game, and he brings a veteran presence to their receiving group. The main reason I like this move is because it now does not make Matthew Slater (a special team’s player) the third receiver on the Pats squad. That would be a flat out disaster for New England. However, the Pats need a difference maker at receiver. By letting Brandon Lloyd go, they are lacking talent at that position. Right now, the Pats starting receivers would be Danny Amendola, and Donald Jones. That will not scare many defenses. The Pats need someone that can make plays outside of the numbers and take some pressure off of Amendola, and the two tight ends.
Ever since there were rumors between the Pats and Emmanuel Sanders, I have really been pushing for them to make a move and sign him. Sanders would give the Patriots a new dimension to their offense that they have not had in years. He is explosive, he can make plays on the outside and he is a very versatile player. As I have said before, New England would have to give up a third round draft choice in this years draft if Sanders were signed, but I really think it would be worth it. If Sanders were added to the Patriots I believe that their offense would once again be in the top five in the NFL.
However, if the Pats are not able to get Sanders, then they need a backup plan. I am not a huge fan of trying to get a receiver in the draft as they are generally a “boom” or “bust” type of pick. I would rather the Pats use free agency to fill their position needs. David Nelson is a guy I would like the Pats to sign, he is a big player that could possibly help out in the red zone and outside of the numbers. Darius Heyward-Bey is another player that would fit perfectly with New England. Heyward-Bey is another fast, explosive guy that the Pats really could use on their offense. In 2011 Heyward-Bey had 64 catches for 975 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those are solid stats. He had a bit of an off year last season, but he showed in 2011 that he has the potential to be a big play receiver in this league.
Ever since Randy Moss left, there has been no outside presence on the Pats. They have the best between the numbers passing game in the NFL with Gronk, Hernandez and now Amendola, but with no outside presence opposing teams begin to stuff the inside and bog down the Pats attack. That is what has stopped the Patriots from winning it all in the past few seasons (along with bad offensive line play in the playoffs) and the Pats will have to find a way to cure this problem if they want to get Brady and Belichick that elusive fourth Super Bowl ring.