The New England Patriots should draft a wide receiver with the 21st pick

Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

There are many discussions about who the New England Patriots should draft with the 21st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Everyone from Patriots experts to wanna be experts are doing their mock drafts and posting them all over the internet for the world to see.

Even though many mock drafts disagree which position is of highest need, one thing everyone seems to agree on is the overall positions of need for New England. The top areas of need for the Pats going into the 2022 draft are linebacker, offensive & defensive line, defensive back, and wide receiver.

Each position has it’s own reason why it should be the most important area to fix, and in turn, why it should be addressed with the team’s top draft pick. And while each is important in it’s own right, it’s clear the Patriots need to use their top overall pick in the draft on a wide receiver this year.

Bill Belichick’s wide receiver draft history with the New England Patriots

Obviously Bill Belichick is one of, if not the best coach, that has ever stood on an NFL sideline. It’s hard to argue with his record and the championships that he has brought to the New England area. Yet, if there is an area that Belichick struggles with, it is drafting and developing high level wide receivers.

In recent history, Belichick has spent a 1st round pick on N’Keal Harry and a 2nd rounder on Aaron Dobson. Dobson was a complete waste of a draft pick and Harry appears to be heading down the same road. Other misses at wide receiver for Belichick through the years include Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, Taylor Price, and Josh Boyce.

The only true high end wide receiver that Belichick has drafted and developed into a starting caliber wideout for the Patriots was Deion Branch, who was drafted in the second round all the way back in 2002.

Now I am sure a lot of you are yelling at your screen saying that Julian Edelman was a high end wide receiver, which he was. But Edelman was drafted in the 7th round and was almost allowed to leave the Patriots for the New York Jets in 2013. That near swing and miss plays into the issues that Belichick has when it comes to evaluating wide receiver talent.

Why should the New England Patriots have Bill Belichick waste another high draft pick on a wide receiver?

Now at this stage, you are probably thinking to yourself “If Belichick can’t evaluate wide receivers, why should the team waste their top draft pick on one?” Well the answer to that is easy. This year’s draft is LOADED with talent at the wide receiver position. From Chris Olave to John Metchie III, there are tons of high quality receivers to be had in the first couple rounds, unlike when Belichick drafted Harry and Dobson.

Next, Tom Brady will never take a snap in a New England Patriots uniform ever again. In years past, one of Brady’s top complaints was not having enough offensive weapons around him, primarily a high end wideout. We all saw what Brady could do with top receiving talent in 2007 when he and Randy Moss decimated the defense of pretty much every team they played.

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Since Brady is not walking out of the Gillette Stadium tunnel any time soon, the team will move forward with Mac Jones under center. If last year was any indication of things to come, the future is bright, but Jones is not Brady. So the thought exists; if Brady (the best quarterback of all time) complained about not having a top wideout, how is Jones supposed to bring home a Super Bowl without one?

What about the current New England Patriots wide receiver core?

I’ve read a lot of opinions from people who oppose the Patriots drafting a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. They all say that we have a decent core of receivers already and that we have bigger needs. But I disagree. New England’s current roster has some of worst wide receivers in the league when it comes to creating seperation from their opposing defender.

Nelson Agholor (Signed to be the #1 WR) averaged 2.6 yards of separation at pass arrival.

Jakobi Myers (arguably New England’s best WR last season) averaged 2.8 yards of separation.

Devante Parker (The Pats newest WR) averaged 1.7 yards of separation. 1.7 was the worst in the NFL last season.

The league average for separation by a wide receiver is over 3 yards. Yet, none of our everyday wideouts, with the exception of Kendrick Bourne (3.3 yards), are even league average at creating separation from their defender. In comparison to the 2019-20 season (Brady’s last year in with the Pats) when the league average was 2.8 yards of separation, the Pats had three receivers with at least 2.8 yards of separation.

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Jones is the team’s quarterback moving forward. If Brady had complaints about the talent around him when he had three wideouts at or above average in separation, how is Jones supposed to be successful with only one receiver at or above league average?

But what about the other positions that might be bigger needs for the New England Patriots?

Many of you may be thinking, “aren’t there positions where we have bigger holes than at wide receiver?” and you’d be absolutely right. But this only strengthens my belief that Belichick should draft a wideout with his top pick.

If you go back an look at Belichick’s draft history with New England, he has been very successful at finding talent in all the positions of need (other than wide receiver) beyond the 1st round.

Offensive Line

  • Michael Onwenu (2nd round 2020)
  • Hjalte Froholdt (4th round 2019)
  • Ted Karras (6th round 2016)
  • Shaq Mason (4th round 2015)
  • Marcus Cannon (5th round 2011)
  • Sabastian Vollmer (2nd round 2009)

Defensive Line

  • Christian Barmore (2nd round 2021)
  • Chase Winovich (3rd round 2019)
  • Byron Cowart (5th round (2019)
  • Deatrich Wise (4th round 2017)
  • Trey Flowers (4th round 2015

Defensive Back

  • Kyle Dugger (2nd round 2020)
  • Keion Crossen (7th round 2018)
  • Malcom Butler (UDFA 2014)
  • Logan Ryan (3rd round (2013)
  • Duron Harmon (3rd round 2013)
  • James Sanders (4th round 2005)


  • Josh Uche (2nd round 2020)
  • Ja’Whaun Bentley (5th round 2018)
  • Elandon Roberts (6th round 2016)
  • Brandon Spikes (2nd round 2010)
  • Tully Banta-Cain (7th round 2003)

In the end, we all know that Belichick will do what he does. More than likely he will trade back from the 21st pick and get two 3rd round picks and a fifth. Or he will stay put and draft an offensive lineman, which he seems to love doing.

Again, it’s hard to argue with Belichick’s success in New England, but we have to keep in mind that most of that success came with Brady at the helm. Jones has the potential to be a great quarterback, but he will need help from his playmakers on offense who can get open.

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There is always the possibility of signing a top free agent in the spring of 2023, but Belichick has never been the type of GM to throw money at top free agents. Therefore, the Patriots best option is to draft one of the many highly rated wide receivers in this year’s draft.

Just a suggestion, but I heard there was a really quick and talented wideout out of Ohio State who could be available around the 21st pick. I’m just saying.