The New England Patriots are still looking to add some weapons to their offense. In the wake of Rob Gronkowski's retirement, the team is looking for a new weapon at tight end, and they could stand to add some talent at receiver as well. So it's no surprise that they are visiting with some top pass catchers ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Patriots are working out Iowa tight end Noah Fant, South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and Ole Miss wide-out A.J. Brown on Thursday. All three are potential first or second-round prospects that the team could have interest in.
The #Patriots have another group of draft prospects visiting today -- a list that includes Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown, South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel and Iowa TE Noah Fant, sources say. Weapons coming for Tom Brady?— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 11, 2019
Of the group, Fant's presence might be the most notable. He is one of two Iowa tight ends that will draw consideration in the first round (T.J. Hockenson is the other). Fant was a scoring machine at Iowa, totaling 18 touchdowns in the past two years and has the receiving ability need to be a mismatch weapon at the NFL level.
Fant had a great showing at the combine as well. He clocked the fastest 40-yard dash of tight ends at the event with a 4.5 flat. He could garner consideration with the No. 32 pick as a potential replacement for Gronk, if he's still on the board.
Meanwhile, Samuel represents a potential second-round option at receiver. Samuel had the best year of his career with the Gamecocks last year, catching 62 passes for 882 yards and 11 touchdowns, all career-highs. He may not be a first-round pick, but he is a prospect that the team could trade up for in the second round of the draft with their extra draft capital.
The Patriots had already reportedly met with Brown. He played mostly in the slot at Ole Miss, and he has posted at least 2,572 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in the past two seasons combined. He has drawn comparisons to JuJu Smith-Schuster and given Smith-Schuster's success, that may help Brown to rise.
It seems highly likely that the Patriots are going to focus on adding receiving weapons to their offense one way or another. They recently worked out WR Demaryius Thomas and RB T.J. Yeldon and signed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to provide depth to their roster, so expect them to continue to make changes to their offense during the draft.
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