Some thought a wide receiver was among the biggest needs for the New England Patriots entering the offseason.
The Patriots responded by not drafting a receiver, before signing a handful of receivers who went undrafted. Head coach Bill Belichick noted shortly after how the organization drafted receiver N’Keal Harry in the first round in 2019 and traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu during the 2019 season, both of which obviously are true.
Pro Football Focus, however, doesn’t seem to think that’s enough. The outlet ranked the Patriots 30th of the league’s 32 teams in regards to wide receiver corps. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins have less at the position, according to PFF.
Here’s their reasoning:
While many will point to Tom Brady’s numbers last season, the big problem with the Patriots’ offense was that they just didn’t have receivers who could separate downfield. Julian Edelman remains one of the more reliable slot options in the short and intermediate range, but Mohamed Sanu added very little after he was acquired by the Patriots midseason (57.1 overall grade post-trade) and N’Keal Harry’s rookie campaign was a disappointment headlined by an injury that sidelined him for a large portion of the season. The two tight ends New England picked up in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft should see playing time, given the lack of options in front of them on the depth chart, but neither is likely to really solve the issue as a rookie. The Patriots’ biggest hope for the year will be that Harry takes a big step forward in a healthy sophomore campaign.
While it may be hard to find a flaw in the argument, the fact is that Sanu was affected almost immediately into his Patriots tenure by a high ankle injury that required offseason surgery. And, as PFF noted, Harry started his rookie season on injured reserve, forcing him to get up to speed much faster than other rookie receivers.
Ultimately, the Patriots do have options at the position. It’s simply about getting more out of those options.