Kendall Wright’s Playmaking Ability Would Be Welcomed Addition to Patriots’ Offense


Kendall Wright's Playmaking Ability Would Be Welcomed Addition to Patriots' OffenseBaylor wide receiver Kendall Wright has enough explosion and playmaking ability to make a successful transition into the NFL, and he's shaping up to be drafted late in the first round.

Since the Patriots have five receivers on the wrong side of 30, they'd have to take a good look at Wright if he fell to them next Thursday.

Wright is the focus of the 19th 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.

Key Stats

The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder had 108 receptions for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. In four years at Baylor, Wright had 302 catches for 4,004 yards and 30 scores.

Why the Patriots Would Want Him

Wright has great playmaking ability after the catch, and he's got some great athleticism and explosion. While he took some heat for his 4.6-second 40-yard dash at the combine, Wright plays much faster than that and was able to take over games for Baylor. He looks like a slot cornerback but has the downfield ability to play on the outside if he can gain strength and improve his route running. Wright also looks like someone who can contribute as a kick returner.

Why the Patriots Might Stay Away

With the Patriots' depth at receiver, they'll have to be convinced Wright — or any rookie, for that matter — can learn the playbook and contribute right away. If that's not the case, he'll cost a reliable veteran a roster spot. And even though Wright is widely viewed as the third best receiver in the draft class, there might not be a huge drop-off to the next tier, and the Patriots could believe they can find a comparable player in the second or third round.

Potential Impact in 2012

If the Patriots use a first-round pick on him, it would be a strong indication they believe he can succeed immediately. Wright would challenge Deion Branch, among others, for offensive reps, and he would also get an opportunity to show his skills in the kicking game.

Likelihood Wright Is Available at No. 27

The Bears (No. 19) are probably the only team that would reach for Wright in the top 20, but the Bengals (No. 21), Browns (No. 22) and Texans (No. 26) would also be candidates to take him ahead of New England. There's definitely a possibility Wright could still be there, but it looks slim that he would slide past all four of those teams, particularly the Texans.

Each day in April, will spotlight a player the Patriots could take with one of their first-round picks.

Wednesday: Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith

Friday: South Carolina cornerback Stephen Gilmore

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

Photo via AP/Charlie Neibergall

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