Thursday, April 4, 2013
Patriots, Belichick struggle drafting WRs
By James Walker
The New England Patriots will have two new starting receivers in 2013. The defending AFC East champs let Wes Welker walk in free agency and cut veteran Brandon Lloyd. The pair combined for 192 receptions, 2,265 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
New England will go with a receiver-by-committee setup next season to replace the lost production. So far, the team signed receivers Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones in free agency. But will the Patriots add another receiver in the NFL draft?
The Patriots' track record of drafting receivers have been awful in recent years. It's the one position head coach Bill Belichick, who calls the shots in New England, has not been able to figure out.
New England's selections at receiver reads like a laundry list of draft busts. Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Chad Jackson and P.K. Sam are among the many flops the Patriots have selected since 2004. The most productive receiver in that span, seventh-rounder Julian Edelman, was a converted quarterback and has 69 career receptions. Others, like Matthew Slater and Tate, developed into primarily special-teamers.
For some reason, Belichick simply does not have a good eye for drafting wide receivers. Is this the year Belichick and the Patriots change that trend?
New England holds the No. 29 overall pick and could be targeting a receiver in the first two rounds. Keenan Allen of Cal, Robert Woods of USC and Terrance Williams of Baylor are all possibilities.
Whoever the Patriots choose, New England wants its next rookie receiver has a more productive career than his predecessors.