The New England Patriots seemed to prioritize one attribute when it came to drafting wide receivers in 2016: hands.
Fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell dropped just four passes in 93 targets in 2014 and 2015, and seventh-rounder Devin Lucien dropped just three passes on 98 targets in 2015 and two passes in 2014.
Lucien caught 58 passes for 752 yards with four touchdowns in three seasons at UCLA before making the wise decision to transfer to Arizona State as a senior. He was rewarded with 66 catches for 1,074 yards with eight touchdowns in 2015.
He flashed solid athleticism for his size at Arizona State’s pro day in March. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at 6 feet, 201 pounds with a 1.53-second 10-yard split, 6.93-second 3-cone drill, 4.30-second short shuttle, 34.5-inch vertical leap and 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump.
He showed the ability to separate from defenders on deep routes downfield as a senior, catching 12 passes on 24 targets of over 20 yards for 436 yards with two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. He mostly served as the Sun Devils’ “X” receiver and was highly productive, picking up 2.64 yards per route run.
Lucien’s hands are his strongest attribute. He’s a hands-catcher (not a body-catcher) and uses his 31 7/8-inch arms and 10 1/8-inch hands to pull the ball out of the air on contested catches. The ball never seems to move after it hits Lucien’s big mitts.
Lucien dropped to the seventh round because of a lack on consistent production throughout his college career. He’s a solid route runner but didn’t always show elite acceleration coming out of his breaks.
Lucien ended his college career on a high note, picking up 26 catches for 534 yards with five touchdowns in his final three games against Arizona, California and West Virginia.
Lucien has an uphill battle to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster as a seventh-round draft pick. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Matthew Slater are locks for the roster, leaving Lucien, Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington, Aaron Dobson, DeAndre Carter and Chris Harper to battle for what could be just one roster spot.
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