Arguably the biggest strength of the 2013 NFL Draft was the great depth that could be found in the middle rounds, rather than at the top of the draft. After the way the 1st Round played out, we only saw two wide receivers taken, Tavon Austin at #8 to the Rams and Cordarrelle Patterson to the Vikings at #29. The wide receiver spot is now among the deepest positions remaining in this draft, and the Patriots seemed prime to take advantage of this after they moved out of the first round and acquired two extra picks for day two. With the Patriots most glaring need at WR, here are my favorite remaining WRs in the draft.
1. Justin Hunter- It really surprised me to see Hunter drop out of the first round, especially that his teammate at Tennessee Cordarrelle Patterson was considered to be a bigger risk. But nonetheless, Hunter is my favorite WR left because of his awesome size, and his ability to take the top of a defence, something that the Patriots have been sorely lacking in the WR department for a long time. Hunter may be considered to be the biggest project remaining because of drop concerns, and the fact that he is still very raw, but he wouldn’t be expected to carry the offence as soon as he got to New England, but could provide the vertical threat the Patriots have been missing since Randy Moss unceremoniously departed town.
2. Keenan Allen- I put Allen at number two because of his lack of top end speed compared to my number one Justin Hunter. These concerns of course could all be for not as Allen is still recovering from a knee injury, but he still holds the number two slot for a good reason. Great hands, very consistent, still managed a good season despite shaky QB play at California, there is a good reason many people had Allen going in the 1st Round. Although I would rather see a player who can get down field, something Patriots fans know Brady can abuse, but Allen would still be a welcome playmaker at a position that has only one proven player right now.
3. Terrance Williams- Here is where I see real possibilities for the Patriots at the #52 selection. The first two in this list, barring any unforeseen drops, will most likely not be on the draft board when the Patriots step to the podium. Terrance Williams is in my opinion the best WR that will drop to the Patriots. The sideline speed is impressive, and is among the best blocking WRs in the draft, something always welcomed in the Patriots deadly screen game. He will need to get stronger, and learn to go underneath or over the middle, but Williams has great size and speed to be a very solid over the top deep threat.
4. Robert Woods- Woods has slipped far from the beginning of the college season, but I still believe if given time to heal his nagging injuries, he could be a fantastic playmaker for an NFL team. He doesn’t have that ability to get by defenders on the sideline, but is willing to go over the middle, and make catches in traffic, which is something we know the Patriots value in their offence. He might not be the most physically imposing WR left on the board, but he’s a very solid option due to his ability to run a variety of routes, and run them efficiently.
5. Markus Wheaton- Speed kills, and Wheaton has plenty of it to spare. The best pure burner left on the board, he may not have the ideal size, measured at 5’11, but his playmaking ability isn’t questioned. The problem with Wheaton is that he will most likely have troubles dealing with the very physical corners of the NFL. He cannot make use of that dangerous speed, if he cannot get off his man, something that was a problem by Patriot WRs not named Wes Welker last year. He’ll need to work on his mechanics, like making his route running sharper and getting off of defenders, but speed is that shouldn’t be underestimated. He could make an immediate impact on a good team, looking for speed like the Patriots are, but he will need to just make everything sharper in his game before he can make consistent impact in the NFL.
Those are my top five receivers, and I expect three and five to be on the board, but you never know how things will play out. One at the top may drop drastically for a number of reasons, while one near the bottom may be coveted by a team for equally as many reasons. Of course their are plenty other talented WRs left, Patton, Rogers, Bailey, to name a few that could be taken in these middle rounds. The Patriots always hold their cards close to their chest, and we may see a name come out of nowhere. So I encourage you all to enjoy day two of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Patriots will be very busy, whether they use all four picks, or we see more wheeling and dealing.
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