Patriots: Can UDFA signing Andre Baccellia make an impact?

The Patriots have officially signed Washington WR Andre Baccellia.

On Friday, the New England Patriots worked out former Washington Huskies WR Andre Baccellia. Shortly after the scrimmage ended, the New England Patriots released WR Will Hastings, and replaced him by signing the aforementioned Husky wideout.

Not many people are aware who Baccellia is, or what he could potentially offer to the team. Andre Baccellia grew up in Thousand Oaks California, and attended Westlake High School, where he had a solid football career, but missed most of his senior year with an injury. Ranked as a 3-star recruit in August 2014, Baccellia committed to Washington.

After red-shirting his freshman season, he saw a limited role, appearing in eight games his sophomore season, which resulted in only 7 receptions for 98 yards and one touchdown. Entering his third season with the team, he saw his role expand, but Baccellia still appeared in fewer games. In seven games, he had 16 receptions for 187 yards and no touchdowns.

Baccellia’s fourth and fifth seasons with the team are where he saw his largest role. Appearing in 25 of 28 possible games, Baccellia flashed as a receiver and gadget player. In those 25 games, Baccellia accrued:

  • 84 receptions
  • 898 receiving yards
  • 10.7 yards reception
  • 6 receiving touchdowns
  • 4 rushing attempts
  • 35 rushing yards
  • 8.8 yards per carry
  • 1 rushing touchdownsNew England Patriots

 

 

 

In total, Baccellia attended Washington for five years before declaring for the 2020 NFL draft, where he went undrafted.

He was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs following the draft in April 2020, but was eventually cut by the team on August 19, 2020. It appears as though the Chiefs cut him due to extensive depth at the position, which made way for an intriguing prospect that offers some much-needed speed to find his way to a New England Patriots team that is desperately searching for a player with his skill-set.

You cannot teach athleticism, and Baccellia possesses an athletic profile you look for in developmental prospects. At his Pro Day, he ran a blazing 4.28 40-yard dash. When watching his film, his speed jumps off the screen. He possesses elite quickness, acceleration and top-end speed, but the concern for many (and largely the reason why he didn’t get drafted) is his lack of production and smaller frame.

In his four college seasons, he never developed into a key player for the Huskies offense, with just over 1,180 receiving yards total. He doesn’t have a prototypical NFL frame; at only 5-9 1/2 and 176 lbs, he is on the smaller side for NFL receivers, with short arms and small hands.

At Washington, when facing press coverage, Baccellia struggled to shed defenders and get open, which many top-tier deep threats can do effectively. At his Pro Day, he showcased elite strength for a receiver his size, which makes me optimistic he can continue to develop his release and hand placement to improve against press coverage. I will include his Pro Day numbers below (If you want to watch his Pro Day, click on the words “Pro Day” highlighted):

  • Height: 5’9 1/2″
  • Weight: 176.2lbs
  • Hands: 8 1/2″
  • Arm Length: 27 3/4″
  • Wingspan: 70 1/4″
  • Bench Press: 20 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 37.5
  • 10-yard split:  1.44s-1.41s
  • 40-yard dash: 4.28
  • Broad Jump: 9′ 7″
  • Shuttle: 4.19
  • 3-Cone Drill: 6.85s

Could his lack of production been a result of under-utilization? His Pro Day numbers suggest he has all of the tools to translate to the NFL. If he plans to make the team and have an impact, Baccellia has a long road ahead of him, and he is starting from behind. He needs to show that he’s improved at areas he struggled with in college, and quickly pick up the playbook.

Baccellia and Jeff Thomas share a similar skill-set, and with Thomas having missed significant time in camp, I wonder if this beginning of the end for the young receiver from Miami.

In my eyes, Baccellia is an excellent signing,  with only the potential of a low-risk/high-reward outcome. If Baccellia can show improvement and grasp the playbook quickly, he may be able to make an impact as a receiving threat, return specialist, special-teamer, or even a gadget player.

Nonetheless, with potentially one of the worst WR corps in the NFL, it doesn’t hurt to bring in talent like Andre Baccellia and see what he can do.