Monday, September 3, 2012
Quick-hit evaluations of WRs
By Field Yates
Continuing our scouting report of every player on the Patriots' roster, focusing on wide receivers:
Wes Welker (5-9, 185)
Strengths: Expert route runner. Excellent change of direction, agility, ability to keep feet and body underneath himself. A very difficult player to oppose 1-on-1. Has good catching skills within his radius. Can effectively control the slot for an offense, and has deep understanding of zone coverage. A guy that finds space. Can serve as a punt returner. Incredible production, fearless as a blocker, and a physically tough player.
Limitations: Not much of a downfield threat, and can struggle at times with catches outside of his body radius. Limited in some capacities by his height, but doesn't have a role in the offense in which that makes much of a difference.
Brandon Lloyd (6-0, 200)
Strengths: A downfield threat with very good functional speed. Sharp and crisp in his routes, with good ability to sink into his hips, always keeping his center of gravity. Has ability to make rare catches, and has excellent ball skills overall. An efficient strider down the field, and understands the nuances of route-running.
Limitations: Not the kind of guy who takes the football in open space and eludes a bunch of defenders. Won't likely be featured as a tear/bubble screen player. Production can be tied to the ability of offensive line to protect and quarterback to release the football.
Julian Edelman (5-10, 200)
Strengths: Very good wiggle and shake to avoid defenders. Can move laterally in short areas and make defender miss. Quick in and out of his cuts, and a developing option at both the slot receiver and outside receiver position. Has excellent versatility to play on both sides of the football and on special teams, both as a coverage player and as a returner. Continues to develop each season.
Limitations: Still a bit on an unfinished product at receiver, and has had issues with catching the football throughout the preseason. Will not hurt a defense as a downfield threat.
Matthew Slater (6-0, 210)
Strengths: Ace special teams player. Can fly down the field, plays with good instincts, leverage, toughness and is a sound tackler. Has ability to serve as a kick returner, with improving ball skills to field kicks. Showed improvement as a receiver this camp. Very good blocker.
Limitations: Although improving, still not a major threat as a wide receiver. Can be robotic in route-running, and more of a straight-line than change of direction player. Has sufficient ball skills, but not a snatch/pluck catcher.
Greg Salas (6-0, 209)
Note: The Patriots acquired Salas on Saturday afternoon via trade, and we have yet to see him beyond a brief stretching period during Sunday's practice. For now, our insight to his game is limited.