2013 Draft Countdown: Wide Receivers
Who fits where?
A lot of “maybes” around this wide receiver group. There is talent, undeniably, but it comes with circumstances attached. There’s nothing in the same hemisphere as an A.J. Green or Julio Jones. There’s no Dez Bryant or Michael Crabtree either. As a result, the need for finding specific system fits is going to be high. For instance, a team that may have the very talented Cordarrelle Patterson high on their board based on size, speed and explosion could be countered by a team that’s doesn’t value Patterson as much based on a program with a rhythm, timing passing game with a lot of post-snap reads necessary for the receivers.
Patriots Pecking Order: Danny Amendola, Donald Jones, Julian Edelman, Michael Jenkins, Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Ebert, Andre Holmes, Matt Slater.
The versatility of the Patriots’ receiving corps is impressive. Amendola and Edelman can both play slot or outside. Aaron Hernandez also can mix into those spots easily and could be counted as a wide receiver as well. Donald Jones is an X-factor. He has a health issue (kidneys) that led to Buffalo letting him move on in free agency. He caught 41 balls in 10 starts last season for the Bills, though. Jenkins is an experienced, savvy receiver. At 6-4, 214, he brings a stature the Patriots don’t have. But he’s not to be confused with a game-changer. He’s a veteran the Patriots are throwing at the position to see if he sticks – the Torry Holt, Joey Galloway, Anthony Gonzalez move. I’m curious to see what Andre Holmes, the 6-4, 223-pounder who entered the NFL from Hillsdale College in 2011, can do in camp. But right now, the Patriots have a wideout need which they tried to address with Emmanuel Sanders and will likely try to address again in the draft.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
At 6-1, 216 with great explosive speed and athletic ability, Patterson is the best equipped athletically to be a high-level receiver. But he only played one season of SEC football, catching 46 balls, after spending the two previous years at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Miniature but huge in production. The 5-8, 174-pound Austin had 2,910 all-purpose yards last year as a receiver, running back and return man. Electric player who could have a little DeSean Jackson in him. And that’s a good thing.
Keenan Allen, California
At 6-2, 206 and having played in a pro-style offense with the Bears, there’s a lot to recommend Allen as a first-round pick. A team captain as a junior who also has kick and punt return ability and interchangeability inside and out.
Robert Woods, USC
Career leader in receptions for USC operating out of the pro-style offense with Matt Barkley at quarterback. Very productive in all three seasons at USC and at 6-0, 201 he’ll likely be able to walk right in and be more NFL ready than a lot of receivers.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee
The 6-4, 196-pound Hunter is likely to have a long NFL career. He’s passionate about the game and takes it seriously. With 73 catches as a junior in 2012 after having his 2011 season cut short by an ACL blowout, Hunter’s got great leaping ability. He’s just scratching his potential, say the experts.
The Patriots have resisted taking wideouts in the first round but their need this season and the suitability of a few players could make them prone to making a run at one. Among the ones mentioned above, Woods, Allen and Hunter would be the best fits, it seems. Hunter would be the one, true “X” receiver who operates alone on his side, filling the role Brandon Lloyd held down last season. If the Patriots wait and target a high-potential guy with blemishes, Da’Rick Rogers would be an interesting guy to pursue. He’s 6-2, 217 and got chased from Tennessee in 2012 after leading the SEC in receptions in 2011 (67). Spent the 2012 season with Tennessee Tech and had a 61-catch season after showing up in August. He could be on the board on Day 3.