Could the Patriots Take a Second-Round Wide Receiver?


Stat-heads, Sunday tailgaters, fantasy football nerds, foam-hand-wavers, gamblers, and root-for-the-home-team fans all have one thing in particular in common: oh boy, do we love to see Tom Brady sling the rock. Brady to Randy Moss, Brady to Deion Branch, Brady to Wes Welker, Brady-Gronk, Brady to Edelman, Brady to Donte Stallworth, Brady to Troy Brown, Brady to Kevin Faulk, hell, Brady to Mike Vrabel. Too many touchdowns is never enough.

Plus, just about every mock draft out there has New England drooling over a receiver in the first or second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The wide receiver class is deep! There could be a lot of value picks here! This could be the best class for wideouts since the last class that was the best class for wideouts! Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

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I’ve written extensively about why New England will almost certainly not take a wide receiver in the first round of the 2015 draft, but private workouts and official visits seem to be telling us a different story. So far, the Patriots have hosted 4 wide receivers on official visits (DeVante Parker from Louisville, Jamison Crowder from Duke, Malcolme Kennedy from Texas A&M, and Chris Conley from Georgia), plus Cameron Clear, who one would assume New England would prefer to at least not have bricks for hands. Private workouts are even more drool-worthy: so far, Nelson Algholor (USC), Sammie Coates (Auburn), Chris Conley (Georgia), Jamison Crowder (Duke), Geremy Davis (UConn), Tre’ McBride (William and Mary), and Tyrell Williams (Western Oregon) have all came to Foxboro to make their case that Tom Brady should be throwing them the football.  And that’s not even including Bill Belichick’s tour of what seems like just about every ACC and SEC school south of Massachussetts.  Maybe he just wanted to get out of the snow for a bit.

All that seems to beg the question: are the Patriots hoping one of their targets drops below their projected draft position so New England can snatch them up in the second round?

As we noted a few weeks ago, the Patriots have never drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the draft during Bill Belichick’s head coach/GM tenure. But what about the second round? Does going for value over first-round talent ever tantalize the Pats enough to pull the trigger on second-rounders?

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The only ones that I could remember off the top of my head after two cups of coffee were Aaron Dobson, from two years ago, and the original pint-sized Mighty Mouse, Deion Branch, whose jersey I will freely admit is still hanging in my closet.

Looking at the receivers that the Pats have drafted in the second round under Belichick, though, there’s a good reason that only Dobson and Branch came to mind:

2013 – Aaron Dobson, Marshall (Round 2, Pick 59)

2006 – Chad Jackson, Florida (Round 2, Pick 36)

2003 – Bethel Johnson, Texas A&M (Round 2, Pick 36)

2002 – Deion Branch, Louisville (Round 2, Pick 65)


Technically, the jury is still out on Aaron Dobson, but the stats he’s put up so far (557 receiveing yards, 40 receptions, 4 touchdowns) aren’t exactly inspiring, especially when you’re losing playing time to scrap-heap signings like Brian Tyms.

To put this all in context, here’s what the Belichick resume for wide receivers in the draft looks like: zero first-round selections, and four first-round selections, in 14 years of drafting.

If wide receiver is on your high-round wish list, and for a lot of Patriots fans, it has been since 2007, well, you might want to keep that celebratory Jager shot on ice.