The New England Patriots selected two wide receivers last year, but they could address the position again in the 2014 NFL draft.
Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said the Patriots don’t want to pass on a good player just because it might not fill an immediate need. Caserio pointed to when the Patriots selected offensive tackle Nate Solder No. 17 overall in the 2011 draft, when they already had Matt Light and Sebastian Vollmer starting.
“I think what you don’t want to do is pass on a good football player, regardless of your circumstances,” Caserio said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium in his pre-draft news conference. “We talked about this a little bit years past when we drafted Nate. With Matt, we felt like he was going to be coming back, then we had Sebastian. When we drafted Nate, at that time, did we necessarily need to draft that player? Maybe, maybe not. We felt that was a player we had conviction about, we felt good about that player and we’d figure out a way to utilize him.
“You never want to pass up a player. Look, if there is equal value, maybe you go to a different position. But if there’s a good football player and he’s head and shoulders above the rest, then internally we have to make that decision. You don’t want to pass on a player just because he has a position where there might be numbers or volume or whatever the case may be.”
The Patriots have shown a lot of interest in first-round wide receivers in this year’s draft class, but they likely are going into the 2014 draft prepared to select the best player available.
Caserio said the Patriots are confident in the team they have now, and that they’re just trying to find players that fit the system.
“Just, if you look at our team, where we are today, if we had to go out there and play a game, we’d feel that we could field a competitive team,” Caserio said. “You try to find the players you feel that fit best on your team, regardless of position.”
The Patriots’ biggest needs are considered to be offensive line, defensive line and tight end. But Caserio singled out guard Josh Kline as a player who came to the Patriots undrafted last year, then made the most of his opportunities after he came off the practice squad and got to suit up. Kline played tackle and guard at Kent State and spent some time at center during training camp with the Patriots last summer.