Top 3 receivers the Patriots should pursue in free agency

Las Vegas Raiders v Indianapolis Colts
Las Vegas Raiders v Indianapolis Colts / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
2 of 2

2. Mike Evans

A 30-year-old may seem like an odd choice for a rebuilding team, but his game should age like fine wine. He's a remarkably consistent receiver who has posted at least 1,000 yards in every single season of his career, and he's never played fewer than 13 seasons in a game.

Additionally, he's an absolutely massive target, a 6'5" physical force who can dominate in the red zone (he has five seasons of double-digit receiving touchdowns).

Mike Evans is a truly excellent player, but one who makes more sense if the Patriots are taking a quarterback with the third pick. He could help a young QB develop similar to how Stephon Diggs simplified the game for a young Josh Allen.

3. Darnell Mooney

This was a close call between Darnell Mooney and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, who find themselves in similar situations heading into this offseason. Both are 26, both are speedy but smaller receivers, both had breakout 1,000-yard years in their second NFL season, and neither has returned to that level of production since. Ultimately, I went with the one who didn't finish last season on the injured reserve,

A Mooney signing makes more sense if the Pats acquire a solid first option, either through another free agency signing or via the draft, given his lack of recent production (just 414 yards and one touchdown last year).

It's hard to believe his potential's gone, and he still has big-play potential -- he put up 13.4 yards per reception last year, the same as Calvin Ridley (another attractive option for the Pats who the Jacksonville Jaguars might franchise tag).

It's worth taking a flier on him and seeing if he can re-establish himself as a dangerous receiving threat. After all, he has spent his entire career on the Chicago Bears, playing in one of the league's worst passing attacks. There's a chance he could return to form and give the Pats some of the explosiveness they've been lacking.

Read more from Musket Fire: