- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Continuing our post-free agency look at how each position could fit into the Patriots' draft plans with an examination of the wide receiver spot.
Need level: High
Overview: From this view, wide receiver is the Patriots' biggest need leading into the draft, and specifically the team needs to find a wide receiver with size, who can play on the perimeter and who can beat man coverage. The Patriots used Brandon Lloyd in that role last season, but he was released in March. Though the team has added Jenkins (6-4, 214), he projects to be more of a depth player than a starter. The Patriots have three key receiving game pieces in place with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as well as Amendola, but another target is needed for Tom Brady. A receiver with size who can be a reliable red zone target would go a long way towards improving an already explosive and strong offense.
Scouts, Inc. prospects of note:
1. Tavon Austin, West Virginia. 5-9, 174 pounds (2012 stats: 114 catches, 1,289 yards, 12 touchdowns; 72 rushes, 643 yards, three touchdowns)
2. Keenan Allen, Cal. 6-2, 206 pounds (2012 stats: 61 catches, 737 yards, six touchdowns)
3. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee. 6-2, 216 pounds (2012 stats: 46 catches, 778 yards, five touchdowns)
4. Justin Hunter, Tennessee. 6-4, 196 pounds (2012 stats: 73 catches, 1,083 yards, nine touchdowns)
5. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech. 6-0, 204 pounds (2012 stats: 104 catches, 1,392 yards, 13 touchdowns)
For additional information on these prospects and more, CLICK HERE to check out the Scouts Inc. player database (Insider content).