Patriots Draft Preview: Wide Receivers

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 01: George Pickens #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs catches for a touchdown in the first quarter against Bryan Cook #6 of the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Atlanta , Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Given the depth of this class and other Patriots needs, this might be the right place for the Patriots to pick up a receiver. There should always be first-round talent on the board, both in terms of outside receivers and guys who can play the slot.

At Georgia Pro Day last week, the Patriots I looked closely at George Pickens. Pickens offers the combination of size (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) and speed that teams look for in a deep threat, and adds strong hands to that equation. He’s expected to drop a bit in the draft after struggling to stay on the field the past two seasons, but the Patriots have always viewed players like this as valuable picks.

Another potential high-risk, high-reward ‘X’ receiver who should go to the second round is Christian Watson out of the state of North Dakota. Watson entered the pre-draft process as a likely Midday 3 pick, but rode boards with strong showings in both the Senior Bowl and Combine.

At 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds with a time of 4.36 40 on the pounds, his measurable measurements are off the charts. His technical game is still raw and he will have to adapt to NFL defenders coming from the FCS level. But in the right situation (sitting behind Nelson Agholor for a year?) his ceiling is huge.

In the Slot Machine, Western Michigan Skyy Moore is the name to know here. Like Watson, he’s been flying over the drawing boards over the past month. One of the most technically savvy road runners in this class, Moore would be one of the least groundbreaking picks for the Patriots in this position.

Finally there is Alabama John Metchie. Metchie probably would have been another first-round pick for the Tide, but he tore his ACL in the SEC Championship game in December. He’s currently expected to go late in the second or early round of the third, but he’s likely leaning more toward the first given updates on his rehab process.

Metchie can play in the slot or on the perimeter and can burn through defenses at all three levels. Such was the case in 2020 when he played with Mac Jones and caught 55 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns as the team’s No. 2 receiver alongside DeVonta Smith.

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