New Patriots receivers Amara Darboh and Chad Hansen have an uphill battle to contribute in New England this season, but there’s reason to like both players.
The Patriots clearly needed help at wide receiver after keeping just four players at the position through roster cuts. They filled that need through the waiver wire Sunday, when they claimed Darboh off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks and Hansen off waivers from the New York Jets. Based on their draft position, the two receivers still have untapped potential. And since both players were claimed off waivers and were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, they’re both signed through 2020.
Darboh was a third-round pick out of Michigan, while Hansen was a fourth-rounder out of California.
Let’s dive a little deeper into what both receivers can offer for the Patriots.
Weight: 215 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds
10-yard split: 1.52 seconds
3-cone drill: 6.81 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.27 seconds
Vertical leap: 36 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 3 inches
Bench press reps: 17
Weight: 202 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.47 seconds
10-yard split: 1.56 seconds
3-cone drill: 6.74 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.13 seconds
Vertical leap: 35 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 9 inches
Bench press reps: 11
Hansen is slightly leaner than Darboh, but they’re the same height with similar athleticism.
The Patriots typically look for wide receivers who run a sub-4.5 second 40 with a 3-cone drill under seven seconds. Both Darboh and Hansen fit the bill.
Darboh had 18 drops in 255 targets at Michigan, according to Pro Football Focus. He didn’t have any drops in 13 targets last season and in seven targets during the 2017 preseason. He didn’t play this preseason because of hip and clavicle injuries. That’s one drop every 15.3 targets.
Hansen had just four drops on 170 targets at California. He had one drop in eight targets this preseason, no drops in 15 targets last regular season and no drops in 11 targets last preseason. That’s one drop every 38.6 targets.
Historically, Hansen has had better hands than Darboh. Darboh has fixed his drop issues at the NFL level in a small sample size.
Darboh caught seven deep passes on 28 targets for 279 yards with three touchdowns in 2016 at Michigan. He didn’t catch any deep passes on six targets last regular season and preseason combined.
Hansen caught 16 deep passes on 35 targets for 480 yards with six touchdowns at California in 2016. He caught one deep pass on two targets for 24 yards last season with the Jets. He caught two of two deep targets last preseason for 45 yards. He didn’t catch two deep targets this preseason.
Hansen has been the better deep receiver during his career, even though he’s not quite as big or fast as Darboh.
Darboh lined up in the slot on 8.8 percent of his offensive snaps last season. He didn’t play in the slot last preseason.
Hansen lined up in the slot on 17.2 percent of his offensive snaps last season, 10.7 percent last preseason and 15.2 percent this preseason.
Although both players timed well in agility drills, neither player is much of a slot option. We’d give the nod here to Hansen.
Darboh returned three punts for 23 yards at Michigan.
Hansen hasn’t returned punts at the college or pro level.
It would be a surprise if either player returned punts with the Patriots.
Darboh and Hansen will enter the 2018 season behind Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson on the Patriots’ receiver depth chart. They’ll also be competing for snaps with tight ends Jacob Hollister and Dwayne Allen and the Patriots’ running back stable. While fighting for snaps, they’ll also have to learn the Patriots’ offense and try to get timing down with starting quarterback Tom Brady.
It would be a major accomplishment for them to even match Dorsett’s stat line from last year when he has 12 catches for 194 yards.
But both players come with upside based on their draft position, and they’re signed with the team for years to come. Prior to claiming Darboh and Hansen, only Edelman and Braxton Berrios, a rookie receiver on injured reserve, were signed past 2018.
It’s possible neither Darboh nor Hansen sticks past Week 5, when Edelman returns. But it’s worth seeing what they can do in the Patriots’ offense. And New England desperately needed bodies at receiver as insurance for potential injuries to Hogan, Dorsett and Patterson.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images