We’re just 24 hours away from the NFL Draft and the jury is still out in terms of whether the New England Patriots will invest in a receiver early.
Unless Jameson Williams somehow falls to No. 21 overall, which seems highly unlikely given the hype he’s received this week, the Patriots would be better served taking a cornerback, linebacker or edge rusher on Thursday night.
That shouldn’t rule out New England taking a WR in the middle rounds, but the unit is looking pretty solid following the DeVante Parker trade.
It’s not a world-beater by any stretch, but a foursome of Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor isn’t too shabby.
It remains to be seen how Parker will mesh with Mac Jones, so the early candidate to lead the team in receiving has to be Bourne, who finished second on the team in both catches, receiving yards and touchdown catches last year.
Following his breakout campaign, Bourne is setting high expectations for himself in 2022. Check out his latest Instagram caption.
Could Kendrick Bourne notch 1,000 receiving yards for the Patriots next season?
Of the Patriots receivers, Bourne might be the safest bet to break the 1,000-yard threshold. Not only did he generate consistent volume last season, but he led the team with an impressive 14.5 yards per reception.
It also bears noting that Parker has reached 1,000 yards just once in his seven-year career. If you can believe it, that was the only time he broke 800 yards receiving. If healthy, Parker will push for the 1K mark, but history suggests the former Dolphin is a long shot and more likely to lead the team in touchdowns than yards.
That leaves Meyers as Bourne’s foremost competition. Bourne wants both he and Meyers to hit 1,000 yards, but the addition of Parker and the Pats’ run-oriented offense leads us to believe only one of them will reach the milestone.
If we had to choose, we’d go with Bourne. After all, the former undrafted free agent finished with 66 fewer receiving yards than Meyers last season (800 vs 866) despite having 28 (!) fewer receptions than his running mate.
Assuming Bourne generates more targets — Bill Belichick would be insane not to make him more of a focal point — and plays most of the games, he should be in a strong position to fulfill his promise. Meyers might be the better underneath WR, but Bourne is the superior deep threat and better with the ball in his hands.
It doesn’t feel right pitting the Patriots receivers against each other, but we’re merely speculating on whom will have the best season in 2022. As we sit here today, we like Bourne to come through on his 1,000-yard promise.
Don’t let us down!