Patriots in value position at WR

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
10:45
AM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- When assessing this year's wide receiver class, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said "most of the value is towards the bottom part of the first round and into the second round."

For a Patriots club with a sure-fire need at the position, that's good news. The Patriots' first two selections are at No. 29 and No. 59, although we know Bill Belichick seldom stays put.

Considering this dynamic, let's revisit some of the Patriots' drafting history under Belichick at wide receiver in the first three rounds:

2010: Taylor Price (third round, 90th overall)
2009: Brandon Tate (third round, 83rd overall)
2006: Chad Jackson (second round, 36th overall)
2003: Bethel Johnson (second round, 45th overall)
2002: Deion Branch (second round, 65th overall)

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: Not a lot of high picks at receiver, and those that Belichick and his staff made haven't panned out (outside of Branch). This is a tough track record. Belichick has mentioned in the past how receiver is a challenging position to project to the NFL, in part because there is not a lot of press coverage in college. Also, NFL passing games are usually more complex than in college. Belichick has done plenty of great things in his time as Patriots coach, but one area he'd surely like to produce better results is drafting and developing receivers. In a 2013 draft where the value at receiver is late in the first round and into the second round and even beyond, an opportunity presents itself for Belichick and his staff to reverse this trend.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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