When the Patriots nabbed Braxton Berrios with the 210th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, some compared the 5-foot-9 wide receiver to past productive New England slot men such as Wes Welker and Danny Amendola. But how much can a sixth-round pick really contribute as a rookie?
According to Mel Kiper Jr., a lot.
ESPN’s resident draft guru tabbed Berrios as one of the 20 first-year players he believes can make an “immediate impact” in the NFL, listing the Miami product first in his “Rounds 4-7” category.
“So long, Danny Amendola. Hello, Berrios?” Kiper wrote Thursday on ESPN.com. “Yes, he’s two inches shorter than Amendola, but the 5-foot-9 Berrios is a true slot receiver, and the Patriots have proved they can find effective roles for those guys, beginning with Wes Welker in 2007.
” … If he can survive a crowded depth chart in New England — remember that Malcolm Mitchell is coming back after missing all of 2017 — Berrios can fill a role, and quickly.”
As NESN.com’s Doug Kyed observed in his film review of Berrios, the 22-year-old lined up in the slot on 97.3 percent of his snaps at Miami last season, so he truly is built for the inside receiver role vacated by Amendola, who left for the Miami Dolphins this offseason. Berrios also boasts impressive speed (4.44-second 40-yard dash) and solid hands.
Of course, he’ll have plenty of competition at a crowded receiver position that includes newcomers Jordan Matthews and Cordarrelle Patterson. But expectations appear to be high already.
Kiper also included a note about No. 31 overall pick Sony Michel, adding that “there has to be a plan” for the former Georgia running back, who he “can’t wait to see… in the open field in the NFL.”