New England Patriots: Reassessing top 3 needs heading into the Draft

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots position of need No. 3: Wide Receiver

ADDITIONS: DeVante Parker, Ty Montgomery, Matthew Slater (re-signed)

DEPARTURES: Gunner Olszewski

Coming into the offseason, you could have made a case that this was the top area of need for the Patriots, and nobody would have argued with you. And while the additions of Parker and Ty Montgomery aren’t going to radically change the offense, this position is in a much better spot than it was a month ago, meaning it’s not quite as high on this list as it once was.

The main reason for things looking better here are primarily because a) there have really been no departures from this group and b) the addition of Parker. Whereas the Pats have lost some key players at other positions, wide receiver has seen limited turnover, with the inconsistent Gunner Olszewski being the only one heading out in free agency. Parker is also a dynamic pass catcher who gives Mac Jones and the offense another threat that can stretch out opposing defenses.

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Still, this position needs some work. Parker is good, but he always seems to get injured, and he’s no sure bet to play a full 16 game slate next season. Behind him are the top three holdovers in Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor. Meyers and Bourne were a solid duo last season, but they aren’t really going to fluster opposing defenses on a weekly basis.

Agholor on the other hand, may be expendable now that Parker is on board. Trading Agholor would save nearly $10 million in cap space, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him dealt if Belichick can find a trade partner. And if you haven’t already started saying your goodbyes to N’Keal Harry, you should probably start, as he’s either going to get cut or traded before the season starts.

The wide receiver pool is deep throughout this draft class, meaning New England doesn’t necessarily have to use a top pick on a wideout if they don’t want to. First round prospects such as Jameson Williams and Chris Olave have constantly been linked to the Pats, and if they decide to use their first rounder on a wide receiver, it will probably be for one of those two guys. The problem is the Patriots have some other spots that need more help than wide receiver right now.