Needs Analysis: Wide Receiver

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by BradyManny, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    As I alluded to in another thread, I would pounce on Deion Branch if he were cut by the Seahawks (as Branch himself brought up the possibility). That would revolutionize this offense and turn it into the most unstoppable force I could possibly imagine. Frightening. For now, I put this dream on hold and consider the draft...

    WIDE RECEIVER (8), 5 signed, 3 unsigned

    WR - Moss (2010)
    WR - Welker (2011)
    WR/ST - Washington (2009)
    WR/ST - Aiken (2009)
    WR/ST - Slater (2011)

    WR - Gaffney
    WR/ST - Ventrone (ERFA)

    Practice Squad
    WR - Maurice Price

    LOCKS (2):
    Moss & Welker are locks. Washington, Aiken, Ventrone & Slater are all near locks b/c of their ST play, however, none of established themselves as consistent receiver options.

    1) #3 receiver & 2) #4 receiver.

    - Washington, Aiken, Ventrone & Slater are in the same boat. They are ST contributors, but have not shown they are contributors as wide receivers. Aiken showed flashes in preseason, Washington had some hype when signed last year, but as of now, none of them can be counted on as anything more than depth and as great ST players.
    - It would be ideal to re-sign Gaffney especially with Brady coming back, as the two have good chemistry. He would control one of the two open pure receiver spots, though a player with higher upside and a different skill set would be welcome.
    - Price is an interesting prospect as he led the nation in receptions , but isn’t likely to make the squad given the amount of WR/ST talent already on board for next season.


    - Re-signing Gaffney would be step 1. If the team does not bring him back, WR becomes a real short term need as the team looks for a #3 wideout and some depth behind Moss.
    - After the failure of Chad Jackson to develop, the team should be reticent to use a high pick on a receiver. Targeting the middle rounds and selecting a quick, slightly smaller receiver with noted route running abilities and high intelligence and work ethic seems to be the way to go. Players that relied on burner abilities and size in college have not translated into pros for the Pats (Jackson, Bethel Johnson). Essentially, they want to find Deion Branch v 2.0, and could do that anywhere in the draft, but would have lower risk doing it in rounds 3-7. They missed out on similar players like Donnie Avery & Eddie Royal last year, but they should look for players in that mold.

    Bottom line: 2 players are needed.
    Gaffney should be one of them, and the other could be found via the draft.

    Any opinions on potential WR prospects are welcome. Again, I'm looking for smaller guys, better route runners. The following is a complete generalization, but has shown to have some truth: The 6'0-6'3 guys often succeed in college simply b/c of their size....the 5'8-5'11 guys succeed b/c they are smarter, quicker, and work harder. One guy that interests me is Deon Butler as a mid round option, thoughts?
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2008
  2. I disagree about gaffney..........he's not consistent enough to be a full time #3..........I'd rather look in another direction (shaun macdonald, devery henderson, lance moore, brandon jones are all huge upgrades over gaffney and won't necessarily break the bank)
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Don't get me wrong - I hope we can upgrade the #3 spot over Gaffney, I just think he's a very good #4, especially b/c he also provides depth at the slot position, and we know Brady likes him. Either way, I'd look to FA or the draft to augment the WR position, your suggestion of Henderson sounds pretty good to me, but again, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that Branch becomes a cap casualty.
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

  5. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

    2 Florida receivers listed in the top 10... Uggh. Maybe I'm overreacting to Chad Jackson fiasco, but if I'm BB I don't touch a Florida WR with a 10 foot pole from here on out! The challenge is to find the brandon marshall/deion branch types in later rounds. I really don't see us taking yet another WR in round 2 again. (Though it has happened so often, it's almost a ritual!)

    PS speaking of late round receivers how about Pat White in the 4th?

    Pat White, West Virginia
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 189.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
    Projected Round (2009): 4.
    5/22/08: Looking to become the next Antwaan Randle El (pre-Washington), Pat White will have to play receiver and kick returner at the next level. He has the athleticism to make the transition, but does he have the skill set?

    2007: What to do with Pat White? Does he play running back at the next level? Receiver? Quarterback? Probably not the latter. Considering he rushed for 1,219 yards and 18 touchdowns, and gained 7.4 yards per carry, White will probably be placed in the backfield. His small frame concerns me, so what White needs to do after graduating is put on about 15 pounds of muscle.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Marshwan Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati
    6' 182
    Prior to the Pittsburgh game: Gilyard, who has 48 receptions for 758 yards (15.79/catch) and 8 touchdowns, averages 30.3 yards on kick returns with two returns for TDs.

    He's a redshirt junior so may be listed as a 2010 draft prospect and may not come out in 2009. Excellent KR, was a reserve CB as a freshman, he's been a clutch WR for Big East leading Cincinnati - who has won using at least three different QBs due to injuries - that's my kind of WR (Wes Welker doesn't need Tom F-ing Brady to excell: see Fishies, Miami & Cassel, Mattyice).
  7. DocE

    DocE Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Very good analysis BradyManny.

    I feel very strongly that the Patriots need to add a WR through FA or Trade to act as the no.3 WR. We need another WR on this team who threatens the defense deep, so they simply can't shade all the deep coverage to Moss's side of the field. We don't have anyone else on the roster who has shown they can get behind the defense as Stallworth did last year. Stallworth struggled at times, but when he was an actual threat, the Pats offense was at it's best. I wouldn't be opposed to signing Devery Henderson and using him and a re-signed Gaffney to split the no.3 role. I'd love to be able to get a better all around WR who can also get deep, but I am not sure that's the best use of our cap space and/or draft picks that it would take to acquire such a player.

    I don't think a rookie WR can come in and play the position up to Brady's expectations, so I think spending a high pick on the position makes little sense. Moss and Welker both said the offense was very complicated and featured a lot of route adjustments that they had to learn. Pick a WR somewhere between rounds 4-7 and let him learn.

    The only way I take a WR early this year is if it's someone like Maclin who can be a real weapon in the return game while learning the offense.
  8. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    Does this mean I can stop dreaming of Darius Heyward-Bey playing in New England next year?

    Probably. I think WR is probably our strongest position on the team heading into next year, with perhaps a low-salaried vet coming over in free agency.
  9. forget drafting WR's........the pats can do fine with FA's.......

    sure grab 'em in day 2 ala givens, but the best the pats have ever done was branch at #2 and he achieved roughly what a #2 should achieve.........the rest of the early picks have been total busts
  10. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    This is a fine fine analysis except the conclusion that we need two players. To review (including ERFA's as signed)

    Moss, Welker,open
    Aiken, Washington, Slater, Ventrone, Price

    I am absolutely fine with Aiken and Washington as #4/#5 receivers. These are primarily ST positions. Even Slater caught one yesterday! I would note that Faulk is also a fine receiver, and is used in many spread formations or even as a pure wide out on occasions.

    And YES, I would like to re-sign Gaffney (and I think he'll stay). However, if Gaffney doesn't stay, the answer is a veteran free agent, not a draftee. We HAVE young developing wide receivers in Washington, Slater, and Price.

    Try to re-sign Gaffney and/or another inexpensive free agent or two (for competition) and be done with it. We have our starters and four backups. This is not a serious draft need.
  11. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    Washington was drafted in '03, so I don't think he qualifies as a young developing WR. He's one year younger than Gaffney (experience, chronologically Washington's older), and unlikely to significantly improve.

    Otherwise, solid analysis.
  12. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    I'd agree #5 receiver is primarily ST - but in this offense, the #4 should be a good receiver. Plus, we need some depth behind Moss. If Moss went down, especially while Brady is out, the offense would suddenly look very different. I'd prefer Gaffney & another capable outside receiver man the 3/4 positions. But again, like many things this offseason, that could be called a "luxury" and not a "need".
  13. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    That's why I hope they keep their eyes open for the next Deion Branch. Branch came in and learned and flourished in this system immediately. Of course, they're 0-2 in picking receivers Day 1 since.
  14. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Does Deion Branch count as a low salaried vet...Again, I can't get over how bad I would want Branch in this offense. I know its a pipe dream, even if he does get cut...

    Still, I agree it is a strong position, but again I question the depth behind Moss and I also question if #3 WR isn't a position where a small upgrade might reap huge benefits.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  15. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    There's always a want to upgrade the roster from the bottom up (see sig) -- so the WR position would be included. I always like to see competition created for various roster spots, especially for the #3-5 WR corps. Those with strong ST skills always have an advantage for sticking, the hope being that maybe one will actually develop into a worthy target for the passing game.

    In a perfect world, I'd like to see another stretch-the-field receiver to pair with Moss. Belichick knows the value of having a deep threat on the field on most downs. And should Moss get injured, or need a breather, I think it's important to still be able to stretch the field, allowing the running game and short passing area room to maneuver. Gaffney's a good intermediate route runner, but hardly a consistent deep threat. I'm o.k. with him as the #4 (not o.k. w/ his drops), and I also believe Brady likes him. But if we have an opportunity to upgrade the #3 -- I wouldn't hesitate.

    Doubt we go WR early in the draft (we have other priority needs). I do think we'll add a new face to the WR corps, with maybe another day two developmental prospect, or a FA signing. I also think we will prioritize the need for improved RZ production. Adding a 5-8" to 5-11" WR won't help much in that regard (;)) -- but improving the TE position will. I do not see us entering next season w/o a reliable pass-catching TE.
  16. billdog3484

    billdog3484 Supporter Supporter

    i would love to see Deion branch back. imagine him as our #3. haha. hed have to sign for cheap though, something i doubt he would do
  17. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Getting #12 back should solve any RZ woes we could possibly have. I agree another quality TE would be ideal, but again, I'm putting that in the "luxury, not a need" category, same as WR.

    Agree Gaffney is a good, but not great intermediate route runner. I refer again to Meion Branch as a guy who can get 15 yards up the field, stop on a dime and get open just about as fast as anybody. That's the type of player we need at #3. With teams doubling Moss, some teams putting their best corner on Welker, you're talking about having a 3rd DB in man to man coverage on the #3 WR. If that #3 WR had the skills of a guy like Branch, it would be a joke, it'd be like stealing candy from a baby.

    That said, I don't see any really obvious upgrades to Gaffney at this current time - but investing in a WR in the mid rounds of the draft might be a long term approach.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  18. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #11 Jersey

    I think he's missed more games than he's played since he's gone to Seattle. That guy is always friggin' hurt. I'll pass.
  19. LasVegasPatsFan

    LasVegasPatsFan On the Game Day Roster

  20. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

    Don't stop dreaming. Though it seems like drafting a WR in the 2nd round is like sticking your finger in an electrical socket ( generally stop before doing it a third time), DHB is exactly what the Pats need opposite Moss. Deep speed with good size and excellent hands. Teams would need to be in the dime to defend the Pats standard 3 WR set.

    I think he is a first round talent that will be available in the 2nd round due to the Turtle's roller-coaster year. Gaffney is a fine, overachieving player but he is limited. The Brady is closer to the end than the beginning so why not go all in. The Pats could take DHB and still have top 100 picks for ILB, OL, DB and another value pick.

    Not that I think it will happen, but you just mentioned a guy who is sure to be one of my binkies if he declares.
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