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

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Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Nelson Agholor (15) is defended by Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Austin Williams (24) in the 2014 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Kyed at NESN has New England picking wide receiver Nelson Agholor from USC at #32 overall in the first round in his NFL Mock Draft 5.0. He says about the potential pick:

"The Patriots have never selected a wide receiver in the first round under Bill Belichick. Then again, they hadn’t drafted a first-round pass rusher before Chandler Jones in 2012, and they had never picked a first-round undersized defensive tackle before Dominique Easley in 2014.   Agholor is a perfect fit for the Patriots, because he has the speed to take the top off of a defense, but he also has the route-running ability and hands to be depended upon over the middle of the field. He also has the agility and quickness to make plays with the ball in his hands. This is a very strong receiver class, and a player this good might not be available at No. 32 overall again."


Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Devin Smith (9) catches a pass against Oregon Ducks defensive back Reggie Daniels (8) in the first half in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Fans in New England have been clamoring for a deep threat for Tom Brady since Randy Moss was traded away and Agholor–if he is still available at #32 overall–could be the perfect fit. He is a polished route runner who is quick but does not have blazing speed. What he has is the ability to get separation and rack up yards after the catch. Another deep threat would be Ohio State’s Devin Smith. His raw speed was evident on film and he simply ran past defenders and showed great ability to go up and catch the ball at the height of his leap.


Dorial Green-Beckham is one of the most intriguing prospects as he has top-ten talent but comes with numerous red flags. He is six-foot-five and weighs 237 pounds but his athleticism is off the charts. If he has resolved his character concerns he could be an A.J. Green type receiver. However, two arrests and an accusation of pushing a woman down a flight of stairs makes him a huge risk. With former tight end (and draft risk) Aaron Hernandez found guilty of murder this past month, can the Patriots take a risk with Green-Beckham with the Hernandez situation staring them in the face?


Nov 22, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett (4) catches a touchdown pass ahead of Virginia Cavaliers cornerback Maurice Canady (26) in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jaelen Strong from Arizona State, Breshad Perriman from Central Florida, and Miami’s Phillip Dorsett are intriguing wide receivers who could potentially be on the board when New England picks at the end of the first round. Perriman is flying up draft boards with his height, size, speed and big play ability. Dorsett is a smaller receiver with great work ethic, great hands, and blazing speed who could be another deep threat. Strong has good size and is a physical receiver who can catch seemingly any pass thrown his way and would be a red zone threat as well.

With the stark contrast in depth at wide receiver between the 2013 and 2014 drafts it seems New England missed a golden opportunity at adding another wide receiver at great value for the draft position last year. Bill Belichick has never hesitated to release a player who could not get on the field and contribute regardless of draft position so Dobson and Boyce have no guarantee to make the roster. If there is a better player available at wide receiver Belichick will not hesitate to cut bait and improve the roster.