The New England Patriots most likely will not be in a position to select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson in the 2021 NFL Draft.
But Wilson’s favorite target is on their radar.
The Patriots are among the NFL teams planning to meet virtually with BYU wide receiver Dax Milne, according to a report Wednesday from The Draft Network’s Justin Melo.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Milne led the Cougars with 70 catches for 1,188 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior in 2020, averaging an impressive 17.0 yards per reception.
It was a breakout season for Milne, who’d posted a modest 21-285-2 line in 2019, and a wildly productive one at that. Primarily an outside receiver, he tallied 89 or more receiving yards in nine of his 12 games and topped 100 yards six times, peaking with a nine-catch, 184-yard, three-touchdown outing against Houston.
Milne’s final yardage total ranked fourth in the FBS, trailing only Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore and North Texas’ Jaelon Darden. Only six players caught more passes.
A former walk-on, Milne opted to forgo his senior season to enter the draft.
It’s unclear when Milne can expect to hear his name called this April, if at all — he’s not among the 28 receivers listed in Pro Football Focus’ 2021 draft guide and is not considered a premier wideout prospect — but he’ll have a chance to boost his stock at BYU’s pro day March 26. (Milne earned an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, but that was essentially canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.)
Receiver is a major need for New England, which fielded one of the NFL’s weakest wideout groups in 2020. BYU has not had a receiver drafted since 2009 (Austin Collie), and the Patriots have not selected a former Cougar since 2003 (fullback Spencer Nead), though they did sign linebacker Harvey Langi as a priority free agent in 2017.
Milne’s QB, Wilson, is a projected top-five pick who could wind up being the second player selected behind consensus top prospect Trevor Lawrence.