Nate Washington: Forecasting 2016 production
Welcome to our second installment in a 12-part series in which we are forecasting the 2016 production of each of the New England Patriots’ offseason veteran additions. Yesterday, we forecasted Chris Hogan. Today, it’s Nate Washington.
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The skinny: After missing out on top targets Rishard Matthews, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, the Patriots settled on Hogan. But they weren’t done adding wideout depth, tabbing 12-year veteran Washington. Judging by the details of his bargain-basement contract, Washington will be straddling the roster bubble come training camp.
Pessimistic forecast: During a training camp in which he turns 33 years old, Washington’s quickness isn’t what it used to be and he gets overtaken by a slew of younger pass catchers. Aaron Dobson, Keshawn Martin, Chris Harper and a 2016 NFL Draft pick outperform Washington in the dog days of summer. Worst case scenario for Washington looks like him becoming the 2016 version of Reggie Wayne.
Pessimistic stats projection: None. Washington gets cut before Week 1.
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Optimistic forecast: Washington finds the fountain of youth that Tom Brady drinks from in Foxboro and displays his excellent route running ability. Having played 12 years in the NFL, Washington has seen it all, and should be on the same page as Brady in terms of scheme recognition and adjustment.
The best case scenario for Washington is an emergence into the No. 3 wideout role, where he will get the scraps in an explosive passing attack.
Optimistic stats projection: 54 receptions, 612 yards, 4 touchdowns
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Realistic forecast: Washington survives training camp but is stowed away on the bottom of the depth chart behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Hogan and Dobson (or someone else). Washington sees more playing time as injuries hit and he makes the most of the opportunity, but one has to think that 2016 will be his swan song.
Realistic stats projection: 28 receptions, 432 yards, 2 touchdowns
Next: 6 WRs Pats should consider in 2016 NFL Draft
Stay tuned here on Musket Fire for coverage on every twist and turn in the Patriots’ offseason.