Patriots’ Potential First-Round Draft Picks: Marqise Lee Fits At Receiver

Marqise LeeThe New England Patriots spent a second-round pick on Aaron Dobson in the 2013 NFL draft, but that hasn’t stopped them from looking at this year’s top wide receiver prospects.

The Patriots have shown interest in projected first-round picks Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Jr., Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin, and the draft is still over a month away. This year’s receiver crop is considered much deeper and more talented than last year’s group.

If the Patriots take a receiver high in the draft, they’ll want to know that he’s better than Dobson, 2012 fourth-round pick Josh Boyce and undrafted pickup Kenbrell Thompkins, so the selection likely would come in the first round.

Check out which receivers the Patriots could draft at No. 29 overall.

Mike Evans, Texas A&M
6-foot-5, 231 pounds
Projected round: First

Why he fits: Any team would love to have a player with Evans’ size and athleticism. The Patriots held a private workout with the former Aggie, but it’s unlikely he’ll fall to within trading distance of the Patriots. He could be a top-10 pick in the draft.

Evans would be a great fit in the “X” receiver role across from Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. The Patriots need a big target for quarterback Tom Brady.

Evans had 69 receptions for 1,394 yards with 12 touchdowns in 2013 while catching passes from quarterback Johnny Manziel.

40-yard dash: 4.53 seconds|10-yard split: 1.57 seconds|three-cone drill: 7.08 seconds|20-yard shuttle: 4.26 seconds|vertical jump: 37 inches

Watch his tape:

Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU
5-foot-11, 198 pounds
Projected round: First

Why he fits: The Patriots typically love players with Beckham’s speed and agility, but he doesn’t have ideal size to play with Edelman and Amendola. If the Patriots are looking to move on from Amendola in 2015 and don’t trust Boyce to emerge, Beckham could be a possible selection.

Beckham likely can fit the “X” receiver role in the interim because of his massive catch radius, but his best spot is at the “Z,” where Edelman currently plays. Edelman always can move over to the slot, however.

The Patriots met with Beckham at the NFL Scouting Combine. He had 57 receptions for 1,117 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013.

40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds|10-yard split: 1.50 seconds|three-cone drill: 6.69 seconds|20-yard shuttle: 3.94 seconds|vertical jump: 38.5 inches|broad jump: 10-foot-2

Watch his tape:

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
5-foot-10, 189 pounds
Projected round: First

Why he fits: Cooks proved to be an impressive playmaker at Oregon State, though he’s probably too small to fit into an offense with Amendola and Edelman. Cooks compares to Percy Harvin and Tavon Austin, and if the Patriots believe he can have the same impact, they could take him if he’s available at No. 29. Amendola’s contract makes it easy for the Patriots to move on after this season.

Cooks had 128 receptions for 1,730 yards with 16 touchdowns through the air in 2013, with another 217 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries.

40-yard dash: 4.33 seconds|10-yard split: 1.50 seconds|three-cone drill: 6.76 seconds|20-yard shuttle: 3.81 seconds|vertical jump: 36 inches|broad jump: 10-foot

Watch his tape:

Marqise Lee, USC
6 feet, 192 pounds
Projected round: First to second

Why he fits: Lee measured in at just under 6 feet, but he proved he can play the “X” receiver role at USC. Lee is a great fit for the Patriots’ offense and could drop in the draft after an injury-plagued 2013 season with the Trojans. The Patriots used one of their NFL Scouting Combine interviews to meet with Lee.

Lee had 118 catches for 1,721 yards with 14 touchdowns as a sophomore with quarterback Matt Barkley, but his numbers dropped to 791 yards with four touchdowns on 57 catches in 2013.

40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds|10-yard split: 1.56 seconds|three-cone drill: 6.96 seconds|20-yard shuttle: 4.01 seconds|vertical jump: 38 inches|broad jump: 10-foot-7

Watch his tape:

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
6-foot-5, 240 pounds
Projected round: First to second

Why he fits: Benjamin isn’t the typical Patriots fit at wide receiver, but they did hold a private workout with the former Seminole. He would provide a massive target for Brady, and while his speed won’t impress anyone, he proved he could get open in college. Benjamin’s red-zone skills would help, especially if tight end Rob Gronkowski gets injured again.

The huge wideout had 54 catches for 1,011 yards with 15 touchdowns in 2013.

40-yard dash: 4.61 seconds|10-yard split: 1.62 seconds|three-cone drill: 7.33 seconds|20-yard shuttle: 4.39 seconds|vertical jump: 32.5 inches|broad jump: 9-foot-11

Watch his tape:

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