The Patriots appear to be in the market for a vertical threat.
On Thursday, rumblings of a trade for Saints burner Brandin Cooks were not stomped out. On Friday, according to ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots hosted 6-foot-4, 196-pound receiver Justin Hunter for a free-agent visit.
Hunter has played for three different teams in four years after being selected with the second pick of the second round in 2013 by the Titans. Coming out of the University of Tennessee, Hunter was thought to be a big-play threat with the physical skills to run by (4.44-second 40-yard dash) and jump over (39.5-inch vertical) NFL defensive backs.
Though he flashed talent in Tennessee -- he averaged 19.7 yards per catch as a rookie -- he hasn't been able to string together a consistent season to tis point in his career. His best year came in 2014, when he played in 12 games and caught 28 passes on 67 targets for 498 yards and three scores. He dropped 20 percent of the catchable passes thrown his way that season, though.
Hunter was waived by the Titans before last season, signed with the Dolphins and played one game before being released again. Hunter finished the year in Buffalo, playing in 12 games there and catching 10 passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns.
His visit to the Patriots is in all likelihood a fact-finding mission for the team, providing it an opportunity to get a better feel for a player with an enticing physical skill set who came into the league with loads of promise not that long ago.