New England Patriots: Where does WR Braxton Berrios fit?
Will Braxton Berrios be the New England Patriots’ next great slot receiver?
With their second pick in the sixth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Miami wide receiver Braxton Berrios.
The wide receiver position wasn’t considered a major need for the Patriots heading into the draft. The team lost Danny Amendola to the Dolphins in free agency and traded Brandin Cooks to the Rams. They acquired wideout Cordarelle Patterson in a trade with Oakland and signed former-Bill Jordan Matthews in April. In addition, wide receivers Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell will return after missing all of last season due to injuries.
Berrios played in 49 games for the Hurricanes over his four-year college career, hauling in 100 receptions for 1,175 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior, in 2017, he posted a career-high 55 catches for 679 yards and nine touchdowns.
He also served as Miami’s primary punt returner, posting 487 yards and a touchdown on 47 returns. According to DraftScout.com, he clocked a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and a 6.72-second three-cone drill.
As his 5-foot-9, 186-pound frame would suggest, Berrios was utilized primarily as a slot receiver in college. He posted 680 receiving yards gained from the slot which ranked eighth among the draft’s receiver class, per Pro Football Focus.
Despite sporting a small frame, Berrios has the production and athleticism to suggest he will make the Patriots’ 53-man roster. He’ll have to compete with wide receivers Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Cody Hollister, Riley McCarron, Matthews, and Mitchell, but his special teams prowess could be the deciding factor for whether or not he makes the team.
Berrios could be named the team’s starting punt returner while being groomed into a potential replacement for Amendola. In a conference call following the draft, Berrios said he studied Edelman and Amendola.
"“I study them as players and really their whole game – as receivers, things they do without the ball and obviously punt returning, as well.”"
Berrios also said he was elected a team captain at Miami and was named valedictorian of the university’s business school.
Next: Complete First Round Grades
Berrios is an intriguing slot receiver whose punt return ability and leadership skills could earn him a spot on the New England’s 53-man roster. Keep an eye on him throughout training camp and the preseason to see if he sticks around in Foxborough.