Patriots Draft: Wide receiver may not be a need for the Patriots after all

By Kevin J. Stone/@kstone06/@newftbj

The 2020 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and while everyone and their grandmother has an opinion on which route the Pats should go with their picks, whether it be defensive tackle, linebacker, quarterback or tight end, there’s one thing that Bill shouldn’t do, and that’s take a wide receiver.

After the debacle that was the 2019 season, and even during it, people were down on this wide receiving core because they couldn’t connect with Brady. What if they’re able to build chemistry with Stidham? The depth at this position may be far better than what “experts” think it is.

N’Keal Harry had an underwhelming rookie season, there’s no way around that. But, if you look at his college years with Arizona State, there is reason to believe that working with a quarterback that actually wants help him develop – while also growing as a QB themselves – could do wonders for Harry’s sophomore campaign in the NFL.

As a Sun Devil, Harry racked up 2,889 yards in 37 games, that’s an average of 78 yards per game. He caught 58, 72 and 83 balls his three years there and added 22 touchdown receptions. Someone had to get him the ball to rack up those numbers, and you’ve got to think that Stidham, Hoyer, Cam Newton, or whoever else ends up under center for the Pats will be able to. It was never that Brady couldn’t get him the ball, it was Brady half-assing the 2019 season and only throwing to guys he fell comfortable with. The best receiver was not always the open one anymore.

What about Jakobi Meyers? Meyers – a quarterback his first year and a half at NC State – ended up 1,932 yards and nine touchdowns in 31 games. Meyers caught 92 balls his senior year, and that overall 62.3 yards per game clip would be nothing to sneeze at if you’re a young quarterback in a Josh McDaniels offense. We can also look at last year’s preseason to see that Stidham and Meyers began building a bit of a chemistry.

Mohamed Sanu is just 31 years old, and despite needing ankle surgery this offseason, he has still managed to play in 16 games in four of his eight years in the NFL while appearing in 15 games in three other years. The only season Sanu has missed significant time was in 2012 when he appeared in nine games as a rookie.

Sanu has never been a 1,000 yard receiver, but he also played with Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan and was banged up during his time with Brady. Sanu has caught at least 50 balls in five seasons including each of the last four. If Harry and Meyers are able to take that next step, the door may be wide open for Sanu to have a breakout season.

Julian Edelman may still be the biggest question mark. We’ve talked many times here at NEFJ about whether or not Jules would be all in with this new offense without Brady, but if he is then the sky could be the limit. Injuries are always going to be a concern with the aging wideout, especially the way he goes over the middle, but a reliable slot receiver with speed and size on the outside or in the opposite slot could make this offense more must-see than people are expecting. 

The fan base’s skepticism with whoever’s at quarterback this season may prevent them from seeing just how talented this wide receiving core could be.I truly believe Brady’s lack of trust wasn’t really a lack of trust, but more so a result of withering work ethic from the veteran QB. Josh McDaniels should also be reinvigorated with a chance to prove people wrong that may think Brady made him look better than he actually is as a play caller.. 

The NFL Draft next week is a chance for the Patriots to rebuild a bit on the fly, and if they’re smart, trusting the receivers they’ve invested in instead of wasting a pick on one could go a long way in helping this team back to the promise land sooner than expected.