Patriots: 3 WRs New England can draft in 2021 First Round
By Jack Long
Rashod Bateman – Minnesota
Bateman is quite possibly the most interesting first-round receiving talent in the 2021 draft class. After initially opting out of the 2020 college season, Bateman opted back in…followed by him opting out again shortly afterward to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Bateman remains a first-round talent nonetheless. He has a competitive toughness unparalleled by any other receiver in this draft. Contested catches are one thing, but Bateman can stiff-arm the best of them to create great yards after the catch.
Bateman gets great separation from his defender, even though he can get jammed from time to time.
His lack of play and production this season may cause some out of sight, out of mind effects on scouts, but when it comes down to it, Bateman is a top-of-the-draft talent.
Is the first round of the draft the best route for the Patriots’ search to bolster their receiving corps?
After a QB is checked off the list, he’s going to need some weapons to throw to. The WR position is certainly a prominent one again in this year’s NFL draft, but the free agent receiving class may be a better direction for what should still be a competitive Patriots team.
Names like Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin don’t hit UFA status every day (although they could be franchise tagged). Even some lower-tier pass catchers like Will Fuller or Marvin Jones would be great gets for New England.
If either of those two names out of Alabama are available, though, Bill Belichick will have to take a long and hard look at what they could bring to that receiving room. The Alabama to New England transition is easier than you’ll see from most college programs, and both of these young players offer game-breaking abilities in their own ways.