Prototypical Patriots: Adding more receiver options to a crowded field?

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Prototypical Patriots: Adding more receiver options to a crowded field?

Just look at the Patriots roster. Go ahead. Organize the list by position. Then scroll down to where you start to see players with "WR" next to their names. I'll wait. 

Whole bunch of those guys, right? The glut of players Bill Belichick has at that position at the moment would seem to indicate a couple of things. 

First, they like the depth they've been able to build. They have competitive players competing for limited roster spots, which means the end result will be an effective group where the strongest have survived training camp cuts. 

Second, they're not entirely sure who will emerge as the best options for them. More options mean more opportunities to hit. It's a numbers game.

PROTOTYPICAL PATRIOTS - Previously in the series:

Yet, even with all the numbers the Patriots have at receiver, that doesn't take them out of the receiver market in this draft. Julian Edelman is in his early 30s. Chris Hogan is in the final year of his contract. Malcolm Mitchell missed all of last season with a knee injury and has dealt with knee issues going all the way back to his days at the University of Georgia. 

It would come as no surprise if the Patriots wanted to look for the next centerpiece around which to build their receiver room. They've reportedly met with two of the top pass-catchers in the class, Maryland's DJ Moore and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk, and there are a handful of others who fit the athletic profile shared by other receivers the Patriots have drafted in the past. 

Let's lay out the list here...


Moore checks just about every box the Patriots look for in their wideouts. He's big enough to play on the outside, he has the speed (4.42-second 40) to stress defenses deep, and he's very explosive (11-foot broad jump, 39.5 vertical). His three-cone (6.95 seconds) and short-shuttle (4.07) indicate he has the change-of-direction ability to play inside and create separation with his quickness. Thought to be a mid-first round pick, the Patriots might have to hope he lasts until No. 23 to pick him. Or if they like him enough, they could make him the first receiver Belichick has taken in the first round since taking over in New England. 

DJ CHARK, LSU, 6-3, 199 

Chark is a little on the lighter end for a Patriots outside receiver, but athletically he has it all. His speed (4.34-second 40) made him one of the fastest players at this year's combine, and he stood out at the Senior Bowl. His 40-inch vertical and 129-inch broad jump only reinforce the fact that he is among the most physically-gifted pass-catchers in the draft. Chark is among the talented many Day 2 receiver options, and if someone falls in love with his speed, he could go at the end of Day 1. 


Slightly built, Pettis may be expected to pack on a few pounds if he ends up at 1 Patriot Place. But when it comes to how Pettis tested athletically, Belichick won't want him to change a thing. His 4.48-second 40, 6.87-second three-cone, 125-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical make him one of the best fits at receiver for the Patriots. Plus, he has experience as a returner, which could boost his draft stock when Belichick and Nick Caserio stack their board. 


Miller may profile as a slot receiver, but his testing numbers seem to be a sign that he could play on the outside without issue. He has big enough mitts (10 inches) to snatch footballs from defenders and his three-cone time at his pro day (6.65 seconds) was outstanding. Miller's 40-yard dash wasn't eye-popping (4.50 seconds), but he's a good leaper (39-inch vertical, 125-inch broad) and certainly qualifies as an NFL athlete. 


Like Miller, Sutton's 40 time (4.54 seconds) won't jump off the page for a team that has drafted outside faster outside receivers (Chad Jackson, Aaron Dobson) in the first couple of rounds. But Sutton meets the mark when it comes to his vertical (35.5 inches) and broad (124 inches). And his change-of-direction times were tremendous -- 6.57-second three-cone, 4.11-second short shuttle -- for a player with his size. That might help his 40 time from knocking him way down New England's board.


Brown has the size and speed (4.48-second 40) to profile as a boundary receiver in New England. His 1.54-second 10-yard split is also ideal. We don't have testing numbers for St. Brown on the three-cone or shuttle, but he jumped 34 1/2 inches at his pro day, and he did 20 reps on the bench. He looks the part. 


On the opposite end of the physical spectrum from St. Brown would be Berrios. Still, Berrios profiles as a very nice fit in the slot for Josh McDaniels. He reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.4s and had a 6.76 three-cone to go along with a 36-inch vertical. Those are all strong numbers for an inside receiver in the Patriots system. 


Kirk was in New England this week for a top-30 visit, an indication that the Patriots are quite interested. Judging by his play, that's not a surprise. But outside of a strong 40 time (4.47 seconds) and vertical (35.5 inches) his athletic numbers don't quite match up with sub-six foot receivers the Patriots have drafted in the past. His broad jump (115 inches), three-cone (7.09 seconds) and shuttle (4.45 seconds) aren't quite ideal, but the Patriots could argue that he's quicker than that on tape. 


Ridley, who reportedly was in Foxboro for a visit on Wednesday, is a little light, judging by Patriots standards, and some of his testing numbers don't quite meet the mark of other highly-drafted Patriots receivers. (Ridley is expected by many experts to be the first receiver off the board.) His 31-inch vertical, 110-inch broad jump and 4.41-second shuttle leave something to be desired. His 40 time (4.43 seconds) and three-cone (6.88 seconds) are quick, though, so if he were to slip to No. 23, maybe the Patriots would consider him. The Alabama connection is there, and Ridley is as polished a route-runner as this class has to offer. 


Washington posted some incredible numbers in the down-the-field-passing offense employed by the Cowboys. And while he's a solid athlete, he doesn't necessarily hit some of the markers other highly-drafted Patriots wideouts have. His 4.54-second 40 is relatively pedestrian in terms of what the Patriots typically like, as are his 7.11-second three-cone and 4.32-second short-shuttle. Washington's ability to track the deep ball may allow the Patriots to overlook some of his measurables. They reportedly met with him privately for a workout.


At first blush, Cantrell has the size and athleticism to be a Patriots type. His vertical (38.5 inches), broad jump (130 inches), three-cone (6.56 seconds) and short shuttle (4.03 seconds) are all excellent. The Patriots, if they take him, will have to get over his 4.59-second 40-yard dash, though. Unless Belichick and Caserio feel he plays faster than that, it could knock him down their board. In the mid-to-late rounds, though, Cantrell's certainly a fit.  


The route-running he showed on tape was crisp, and the change-of-direction times he posted at the combine - 6.84 three-cone, 4.15 short-shuttle - were solid. But otherwise, Hamilton didn't test extraordinarily well. His 4.54-second 40, his sub-35 inch vertical and his sub-10 foot broad jump might make it hard for the Patriots to call his name before Day 3.



Gronkowski moves up eight spots to 15th in NFL Network's Top 100

Gronkowski moves up eight spots to 15th in NFL Network's Top 100

Rob Gronkowski has jumped up eight spots in the NFL Network's Top 100 rankings - going from 23rd in 2017 to 15th this year.

Gronkowski was limited to eight games and 25 catches because of back surgery in 2016. The five-time Pro Bowl selection played in 14 games last season with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season and 16 catches, three for TDs, in three postseason games. 

Players ranked 11th through 20th were revealed Monday night. 

Gronk is the first Patriot and highest-ranked tight end in the 2018 Top 100, which is voted on by players. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce checked in at No. 24.

They'll probably be a Patriot quarterback somewhere in the top 10 when it's revealed next week. There was one ranked No. 1 last year.  

Cooks thanks Patriots for AFC championship ring in Instagram post

Cooks thanks Patriots for AFC championship ring in Instagram post

While Brandin Cooks' tenure with the Patriots was a short one, he's still "forever grateful" for his opportunity to play in New England.

The wide receiver thanked the Patriots while showing off his AFC championship ring in an Instagram post.

Cooks was huge in the AFC Championship Game, racking up six receptions for 100 yards in the Patriots' 24-20 victory over the Jaguars.

The Pats traded Cooks to the Rams in April in a package that sent a first-round draft pick to New England, which turned into offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn.