New England Patriots: Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft – 5 of 5 (Wide Receiver)

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Nov 30, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson (17) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Five: New England Will Once More Dip a Toe in the Wide Receiver Pool

In the 2013 NFL Draft the New England Patriots drafted a pair of wide receivers in Aaron Dobson (#59 overall) and Josh Boyce (#102 overall) while also getting a productive half-season out of undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins. Overall, the 2013 wide receiver pool was a mixed bag as top-ten pick Tavon Austin has struggled along with Cordarrelle Patterson who Minnesota gave up a ransom in a trade with New England to move up and pick. DeAndre Hopkins (#27 overall) and Keenan Allen (#76 overall) have been the best of the bunch while Markus Wheaton (#79 overall), Kenny Stills (#144 overall) and Terrance Williams (#74 overall) are making that wide receiver pool not look as bad as it did after their rookie seasons.


Last season had a wide receiver group that was both electric and deep. Sammy Watkins (#4 overall) and Mike Evans (#7 overall) both came across as clear-cut number one receivers. Odell Beckham was the steal of the entire draft at #12 overall and has been one of the most dynamic receivers drafted in the past decade. Brandin Cooks (#20 overall), Kelvin Benjamin (#28 overall), and Jarvis Landry (#63 overall) have all impressed. Martavis Bryant (#118 overall), John Brown (#91 overall), Davante Adams (#53 overall), Paul Richardson (#45 overall), and Jordan Matthews (#42 overall) have all shown flashes of their potential and could be major contributors to their teams in 2015 and beyond.


Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell (19) against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots did not draft a wide receiver last year until their last pick of the draft taking Jeremy Gallon out of Michigan at #244 overall near the end of the seventh round. Gallon never made the roster and New England hit a homerun in free agency with former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell and revitalized 2014 free agent Danny Amendola picking up the slack for Dobson (out most of 2014 with a foot injury), Boyce (relegated to the practice squad), and Thompkins (released early in the season).


Although Boyce and Dobson will be expected to contribute in training camp with a final chance to win a roster spot, there is nothing being handed to them. The star of the 2014 preseason–Brian Tyms–will be back in camp fighting of a roster spot and former Rams and Dolphins receiver Brandon Gibson and former Packers receiver Kevin Dorsey were signed in the offseason. With Julian Edelman, LaFell, Amendola, and some quality depth at tight end behind Rob Gronkowski (Scott Chandler, Tim Wright, and Michael Hoomanawanui) it seems on the surface that there is little room for another receiver.


However, head coach Bill Belichick knows that the wide receiver position is one of the most important positions on the roster with so much of the offense running through quarterback Tom Brady. With Brady on board at least another couple of seasons the New England front office may be looking towards 2016 and 2017 when it comes to the wide receiver position.

Next: A Few Prospects To Look At