The New England Patriots made a major mistake when they drafted N’Keal Harry in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. On top of the fact that they drafted someone who isn’t an NFL-caliber receiver that high, they passed on names like DK Metcalf, AJ Brown, Terry McLaurin, and Deebo Samuel to do so.
Missing on Samuel is looking worse by the game, as he has become both a Pro Bowl wide receiver and a change of pace running back for the San Francisco 49ers. They’ve used his talents to make it to the NFC championship game despite limited quarterback play from Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots are in dire need of a player with that sort of playmaking ability, as names like Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne can only do so much. As fate would have it, Bill Belichick will get the chance to potentially add someone who plays a lot like Samuel in the form of Wan’Dale Robinson.
Despite playing for a very rudimentary passing offense at Kentucky, Robinson almost single-handedly made that offense one of the most fun to watch in the SEC. If the Patriots manage to hold on to their Day 2 picks, one of them should be used on Robinson.
Could the New England Patriots draft Wan’Dale Robinson?
Robinson will run in the 4.4s in the 40-yard dash at the combine, and he pairs that speed with some excellent ability to make plays as a ball carrier. His stop-and-start ability is truly special, and it will help the Nebraska transfer cosplay as Samuel by taking quick dump-offs for huge gains.
The former Wildcat is more than just a gadget wide receiver, however. He was one of the best in the SEC at separating at the line and became a vertical threat despite lacking great size. Even if the Patriots kept him exclusively at receiver, he’d be one of Mac Jones’ top targets in 2022 and beyond.
As always, there are concerns. While Samuel is a robust 215 pounds, Robinson is 185. That lack of size will hurt his rushing potential and his ability to separate against bigger corners in press-man. He’s also not been the best when it comes to making catches in traffic.
While there may only be one Samuel, New England might be able to provide Jones with a convincing facsimile if they draft Robinson. That speed could be a game-changer, and it would make him the most unique weapon on the New England offense the very second he touches down.