AFC East: Terrence Williams

Examining Patriots' WR options

March, 21, 2013
If the season started today, the New England Patriots' starting receivers would be Donald Jones and Danny Amendola. It’s fair to say that is not good enough for the Patriots to try to make another Super Bowl run next season.

New England has to upgrade its thin group of receivers. It can come via the draft or with what’s left in free agency.

Let’s take a look at who is available:

Emmanuel Sanders

2012 stats: 44 receptions, 626 yards, one TD

Thoughts: The Patriots hosted a visit with Sanders and are considering an offer sheet for the restricted free agent of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sanders would be a nice find for New England. The Steelers have a tight salary cap and would be hard-pressed to match a good offer. If Pittsburgh cannot match, it would cost New England a third-round pick. The Patriots are keeping this option in mind.

Julian Edelman

2012 stats: 21 receptions, 235 yards, three TDs

Thoughts: Edelman was showing solid growth in New England last season. He’s a terror on special teams and was making strides as a slot receiver. But both roles have been filled by New England in free agency. The Patriots signed return specialist Leon Washington to take over the kick return duties, and Amendola to fill the slot. There might not be a role left for Edelman in New England except to add depth.

Brandon Lloyd

2012 stats: 74 receptions, 911, four TDs

Thoughts: Yes, the Patriots just released Lloyd. But the reasons were financial, not schematic. New England wanted Lloyd on the roster, but simply did not want to pay him a $3 million roster bonus. The sides could not reach a resolution in time and parted ways. Lloyd’s priority is to see if he can get a sizable contract elsewhere. But if nothing attractive comes to fruition, it’s not impossible for Lloyd and the Patriots to talk about a reunion at a team-friendly rate.

NFL draft

Thoughts: It's not a top-heavy draft for receivers this year. But there is depth available for New England, which has the No. 29 overall pick. Receivers such as Cal’s Keenan Allen and Baylor's Terrance Williams are possibilities. The issue with the draft is New England is in “win-now” mode. The Patriots don’t have a year or two to wait for a rookie to get up to speed. They need to draft one of the most NFL-ready prospects at receiver.

AFC East Senior Bowl preview

January, 22, 2013
The 2012 football season is officially over for every team in the division. The New England Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Now it’s time to officially turn the page to the 2013 season. AFC East teams will look to improve and one of the starting points is Saturday’s Senior Bowl.

Here are four players to keep an eye on for the AFC East:

Mike Glennon, QB, NC State

Teams interested: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets

Why: Glennon has great size and his arm is big time. He certainly can make all the throws and that’s enough to wow scouts and wonder if he’s the right fit. The Jets and Bills are desperate for a starting quarterback in an uncertain draft. Glennon is one of the quarterbacks Bills general manager Buddy Nix personally scouted during the college season, for example. Glennon’s footwork and mobility are issues, and he needs to answer those questions this week and during the pre-draft process.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Teams interested: Miami Dolphins, Jets

Why: Ansah is a raw prospect but with unique physical gifts. He picked up football late and only has a few years of experience. However, you can’t teach athleticism, and Ansah has plenty of it. He is a pass-rushing defensive end that many teams covet. Miami and the Jets could use an athletic edge rusher defensively and will be watching Ansah closely this week. He is a projected top-15 pick.

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Teams interested: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Bills

Why: Williams is an intriguing prospect. He could be on the radar for all four teams in the AFC East, because wide receiver is a need on every division team. Williams has good size and big-play capability. There is something about Baylor that continues to produce NFL receivers. Last year Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright were top draft picks and productive rookies. Williams is a borderline first- or second-round pick.

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

Team interested: Bills

Why: Nassib was the college quarterback for Buffalo head coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse. Naturally, Marrone is Nassib’s biggest supporter in the NFL ranks. Expect the Bills to have plenty of interest in Nassib during the pre-draft process. Nassib knows Buffalo’s new offensive system well and would have virtually no learning curve. He’s not the top quarterback prospect in the draft, but Nassib could be the best fit for the Bills and an ideal second-round pick.




Sunday, 9/21
Monday, 9/22