The Patriots receiving corps is one of the thinnest and least exciting in the NFL. This year’s wide receiving class offers several first round talents.
Of the many holes the Patriots have to fill this offseason, it is hard to debate that WR isn’t their biggest need (other than a QB). To create a dynamic offense, the Patriots have to acquire some receiving talent to help the run game and give opposing defenses several threats to worry about. This year’s Patriots offense was much too predictable.
Cam Newton didn’t help the situation, but the passing game was close to non-existent as receivers struggled to get separation from their coverage. Opposing defenses were free to focus on Damien Harris and Sony Michel in the run game. Those two backs still did damage as well, which has to make you think a competent quarterback and legit receiving threats could completely open up this offense.
N’Keal Harry is approaching full flop status for the Patriots after being selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He has shown flashes of brilliance and the team hasn’t given up on him, but if the Pats can find an arm-wielding QB through trade, free agency or the draft and Harry still can’t find his way with the organization, Bill Belichick will be more than ready to cut ties.
Jakobi Meyers is looking like another great undrafted free agent find for Belichick, but should not be the number one option as he was this season. One huge question mark for this team’s receiving group is Julian Edelman‘s return. At 34 years old, Edelman is no spring chicken and his injury history is certainly concerning. With one year left on his contract, it would be great to see Edelman return for one last hurrah and take some of these younger receivers (especially Meyers) under his wing.
This year’s free agent WR class is absolutely stacked with talent. If the Patriots decide to spend big money elsewhere, though, this year’s wide receiver draft class is debatably comparable to 2020’s monster class. Let’s take a look at some pass catchers New England could take at their No. 15 slot.
DeVonta Smith – Alabama
This year’s Heisman Trophy winner was the first WR to win the award in nearly three decades. 20 touchdowns for Alabama certainly helped his case. Look for him to put in work for the Crimson Tide during this year’s College Football Championship.
Smith is a footwork king and can create separation against even the stickiest of college CBs. He’s also great at making defenders miss in the open field, featuring great after the catch efficiency.
His small frame may give scouts a bit of pause, but putting on muscle shouldn’t be a problem for this young man.
The Nick Saban x Bill Belichick connection lives on and if Bill is gearing up to pick a wide receiver in the first round of this year’s draft, you can be sure he will take a prolonged look at Alabama’s two first-round talents.