The New England Patriots chose to attack their issues at several offensive skill positions by spending a ton of money in the offseason, which is not usually how a more miserly front office like the one led by Bill Belichick builds his team.
The Patriots added a whole new group of receivers in addition to some defensive depth pieces. While their first-round pick in Alabama quarterback Mac Jones may not see a ton of playing time, but that doesn’t mean some of his draft picks on that side of the ball will be rooted to the bench as rookies.
New England needs to hope that some of these additions not only live up to what the back of their trading cards say they are, but they need to bank on a few of them exceeding expectations, as that will be the secret ingredient that turns things around.
These three players may have somewhat reasonable expectations this year, but they could exceed what Belichick expects if they really jive with what New England does from a schematic point of view.
These 3 new Patriots could exceed expectations in 2021.
3. WR Nelson Agholor
Agholor is the most likely candidate to assume WR1 duties in New England, as the retirement of Julian Edelman and the lack of quality talent next to him has the former Eagles and Raiders target primed for success. Afrer all, last year, he emerged as a quality deep threat for Derek Carr on a Las Vegas team that finally started to unlock him.
Agholor needed a fresh start after a subpar time in Philadelphia, and the Raiders were able to use his speed to make him a field-stretcher. New England’s biggest issue last year was a lack of verticality, as anyone with the speed to make big plays downfield didn’t check all of the boxes that an NFL deep threat must have.
Nelson Agholor could take off with the Patriots.
Agholor had a career-high in receiving yards with Vegas, and there is reason to believe that his stats under Jon Gruden could improve with Belichick. While last year wasn’t the best example, McDaniels’ offense has often been able to turn receivers with average athletic ability into some of the best wideouts in the game.
Agholor has the skill to line up as an X receiver on the boundary while being able to move inside to the slot. His reputation as someone with hands of stone earned in Philadelphia isn’t completely true considering how harsh Eagles fans were on him, and New England’s offense could help confirm that last year wasn’t a fluke.