New England Patriots: Wide Receivers to Target in the First 3 Roundsby Prime Time Sports Talk April 15, 2019 0 comments
With an evident lack of receivers on the roster, New England should focus its draft capital on receivers to aid an aging Tom Brady.
Since the start of the new season, New England has not done much to help out their receiving core. Cordarrelle Patterson departed to the Chicago Bears, while Chris Hogan recently signed with the Carolina Panthers. Philip Dorsett was brought back on a prove-it deal, joining Julian Edelman as the only current receivers from last year, excluding Josh Gordon who is still dealing with personal issues (and the commissioner). With the loss of Rob Gronkowski, pass-catchers will be a focal point of the 2019 NFL Draft for the New England Patriots.
D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
The clear-cut top receiver in the draft, Metcalf could go as early as a top-10 pick to the end of the first round. A physical specimen, Metcalf has dazzled when it comes to displaying his raw athleticism. Scouts and fans around the league were shocked when he shared a picture of his progress, where his body appeared to be that of a linebacker instead of a receiver. Still, Metcalf has had trouble with route running, but the sky is the limit for his potential. Drawing comparisons to Calvin Johnson, Metcalf should reward any team that rolls the dice on the project player.
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
Metcalf’s teammate at Ole Miss, A.J. Brown could be the safest receiving option available in the 2019 NFL Draft. With size, speed, and the ability to line up out wide or in the slot, Brown has the potential to play anywhere on the field. Making his mark since his freshman season at Ole Miss, Brown has only improved his game throughout his collegiate career. With his size, Brown has proved that he can block, although it is not his forte. With all the positives surrounding the 2018 First-Team SEC receiver, it’s safe to say Brown could be the most professional-ready receiver in this year’s draft.
Terry McLaurin, Ohio State
McLaurin could be one of Belichick’s top targets in the second round, where New England has two picks. One of those reasons is the size and speed of McLaurin; with blazing speed and serious control when running routes, he could be a premier slot receiver for Brady. Also, McLaurin has proven that he can contribute on the special teams, proving his versatility. There are issues with the speedster, though, as he doesn’t dazzle with the ball in his hands, unlike most athletes gifted with his speed. Regardless, the all-around player should hear his name called on the second day of the draft.
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Another name for Belichick to focus on, Samuel has already met with New England, instigating early thoughts on his draft stock with the Patriots. In fact, Samuel went so far as to say he would see Coach Belichick in a month after his visit, confirming mutual interest between the franchise and player. An incredibly aggressive player, Samuel’s motor and drive should mesh quite nicely with Brady’s championship-caliber attitude. Also a skilled kick returner, Samuel has multiple opportunities to prove he belongs on an NFL roster.
Riley Ridley, Georgia
Although his initial acceleration is lacking, Ridley has decent speed to complement his large frame. The Ridley name comes with an impressive pedigree, as he is the younger brother of Falcons’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Just like his brother, Riley is great deep down the field as he is a fluid, large route runner and has great body control while moving at his top speed. Another tough competitor, Ridley would fit in well in the New England locker room.
Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
An incredibly smart player, Isabella could very well be the next Julian Edelman. Equipped with insane speed from his days as a track star, Isabella is lightning quick and deadly with the ball in his hand. His largest setback is his small frame, as he is only 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds. Still, the talent and work ethic desired by Belichick are present. The Massachusetts product can also return the ball. If a team is willing to take a chance on Isabella, he could become a machine in the slot.