New England Patriots did not draft their next quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, but may have drafted their next great slot receiver.
It’s not often a late-round pick draws a lot of excitement. But, for New England Patriots sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios, the expectations are already starting to mount because of his position, success in college and overall skillset.
At 5-foot-9, Berrios was an intense competitor at the University of Miami who ended his four-year career with 100 receptions for 1,175 yards and 14 touchdowns. Those are usually numbers some of the top receivers rack up in a season, but there is more to Berrios that makes him the ultimate Patriots type of player.
Not only is he a slot receiver who plays big, he is also a dynamic punt returner. Sounds familiar? According to former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi, that sounds very familiar.
"“You watch this guy play and you say wait a minute, this is Wes Welker, wait a minute, this is Danny Amendola, wait a minute, this could be Julian Edelman,” Lombardi said while appearing on The Ringer’s GM Street podcast last week. “Classic New England Patriot. Now, he’s got to get stronger. He’s like 189 [pounds] and he’s got to get more physical. He can return punts, he’s got great hands. He’s going to be an inside the slot receiver. He shows enough toughness. I thought this was a great pick.”"
Lombardi went on to encourage Berrios to follow the footsteps of Edelman who could show him how to be a good and effective player in the NFL. In fact, Edelman is the perfect player to show the rookie the ropes of both on-the-field performance as well as leadership.
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In joining a receiver depth-chart that includes Edelman, Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jordan Matthews and Riley McCarron, toughness and heart may be what separates Braxton Berrios. Taking what he can from a player like Julian Edelman has him very excited.
"“Well, there’s not doubt that I can’t wait to go in there the first thing and learn from everybody from Edelman to Dorsett and everybody else,” Berrios said in his conference call when asked about learning from Julian Edelman. “That’s the main thing that I’m going to be focused on coming in is just trying to soak up everything I can.”"
In all, Berrios has New England Patriots written all over him. He is the typical undersized receiver with the heart to play much bigger than he really is. On a talent level, he is as quick as Welker, Amendola and Edelman.
The only question is whether he has the mental toughness to etch his own chapter as a Patriots slot receiver by becoming the next Braxton Berrios.