There's a deep crop of receivers in the 2012 class, but Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu is one who sticks out as a potential target at the end of the first round or into the second.
Sanu is the focus of the 15th installment of a 26-day series that will highlight draft prospects who could land with the Patriots at the end of April. Maybe the prospect fits perfectly in the range of their 27th and 31st picks. Maybe he's intriguing enough for them to make a rare move up the board. Or maybe it's a player who could be available in the mid-30s, causing the Patriots to, gasp, trade down.
The 6-foot-2, 211-pounder caught 115 passes for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2011.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Sanu is a powerful possession receiver who has prototypical size to perform outside the numbers. He's got really good hands and can fight for the ball. Sanu showed his versatility by occasionally running the Wildcat at Rutgers for head coach Greg Schiano, who is a close friend of Bill Belichick. Sanu is also considered a very good leader.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
Sanu doesn't have elite speed or quickness, so he might not set himself apart from some of the other receivers on the Patriots' roster. If that's important, the Patriots might consider targeting a player with a different skillset.
Potential Impact in 2012
The goal for any rookie receiver in the Patriots' stacked offense should be about 30 receptions. More than anything, Sanu would be an asset if he cracked the game-day lineup, which has been a difficult task for young receivers in recent years.
Likelihood Sanu Is Available at No. 27
It's a virtual certainty. Most analysts believe Sanu is a second-round pick, which is pretty good value. After Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd, the next crop of receivers appear to be very comparable, so the value is better in the second round than it would be in the first, where teams might be reaching into that second tier.
Each day in April, NESN.com will spotlight a player the Patriots could take with one of their first-round picks.
Monday: Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick
Photo via Flickr/West Point Public Affairs