The New England Patriots signed Auburn wide receiver Will Hastings shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft, and it's not hard to see why.
Current Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham spent the 2017 season at Auburn throwing passes to Hastings, who reeled in 26 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns. The chemistry between Stidham and Hastings apparently was great enough for the Patriots to take a look at the wide receiver, but no one at Auburn was surprised when Hastings received the call to the NFL, particularly with the Patriots.
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Kerryon Johnson, current running back for the Detroit Lions and former Auburn Tiger, predicted years ago that the Patriots would sign Hastings. He was off by a year or so, but that's because Hastings suffered a torn ACL in 2018 and took a medical redshirt.
Can't believe in a year or 2 I'll be hearing will Hastings name get called to the patriots— Kerryon Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO) April 27, 2017
Johnson isn't the only person to believe Hastings would land with the Patriots. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn also knew the 23-year-old would land with New England. In fact, Malzahn's staff at Auburn heard rumblings of the Patriots' interest in Hastings over the past year, according to AL.com's Tom Green.
“I think you look at fit, and I think it’s one of those common-sense fits,” Malzahn said. “As a matter of fact, we’ve heard rumors for the last year that they would end up signing him. You could tell at Pro Day the interest was really high.”
From a Patriots perspective, it's really not difficult to see why Belichick took a gamble on Hastings. At 5-foot-10 and 174 pounds, Hastings actually fits right in with the under-the-radar receivers New England has been able to develop in the past -- Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Wes Welker could fit into that category.
While it may be a long shot for Hastings to make the roster out of training camp, it does seem that Stidham is looking forward to working with one of his favorite targets again.
However things turn out for the wide receiver, New England is hoping its gamble taking someone who could end up fitting in very well with Stidham pays off.