The New England Patriots spent a lot of money on weapons in last offseason’s passing game with free agent signings of Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor and Jonnu Smith. Chances are they won’t go on a similar spending spree this spring.
However, there is a serious wide receiver target that could change the Patriots passing game by giving Mac Jones the kind of downside threat and red zone target he didn’t have in his rookie season. .
On a recent episode of Heavy Presents…I’m Just Saying, Heavy.com’s Paul Esden Jr. called the potential “new best friend” of Los Angeles Chargers free agent WR Mike Williams Mac Jones.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Patriots!
Patriots need to find Mac Jones a ‘new best friend’
“I’m sick of watching the New England Patriots wide receivers with all these random gimmicks like Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor,” Esden said. “Time to find a guy who can give Mac Jones a big boy!”
The “big boy” the Patriots have on their wide receiver roster is the 6’3″, 225-pound N’Keal Harry. The occasional splash aside, Harry has been a huge disappointment since the team took him in the first round with the 32nd overall pick in 2019. Harry only had 12 receptions for 184 yards in 2021 due to injuries (he missed 5 games) and lackluster play continued to prevent him from reaching his potential.
In three seasons, Harry has amassed modest totals of 57 receptions for 598 yards and just 4 touchdowns in his career. What man can the Patriots find in free agency who can give them what Harry failed to provide?
“That boy, no man, part of that 6-foot-5 body is none other than Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers,” Esden claims. “That wingspan, a LeBron-James type wingspan, would be helpful. I know Mac Jones is accurate, but if he’s not, it won’t matter. Just throw it in Williams’ general direction and it’ll go down with it. He’s got some Larry Fitzgerald in his game in that regard, just throw him and he’ll find a way out.
Mike Williams has a valuable skill set
It’s hard to find a receiver with Williams’ skills on the field. Coming out of Clemson, Pro Football Focus’ Williams scouting report mentioned these positives in a pointed breakdown of his strengths:
- Dominates at the point of capture, uses his giant frame to dominate defensive backs
- Enormous catch radius and wing span facilitate spectacular catches
- Deep threat, uses size to frame defensive backs
- Tracks the ball exceptionally downfield, a constant threat on fades and back shoulder throws
We expected Harry to be that kind of player too, but he didn’t make it. Williams, on the other hand, was borderline spectacular. The 27-year-old is coming off a stellar season in 2021. Williams had a career-high 76 catches and 1,146 receiving yards. He also had 9 TD receptions. He would instantly become the Patriots’ top pass-catching option.
What kind of impact will this have on New England’s overall offense?
“The other thing is the ripple effects it could have on the rest of the Patriots offense,” Esden responds. “Williams had a slow start to his career as a former top-10 pick with injuries, but once he got some decent quarterback play midway through, we saw what he could be in the NFL. It’s going to make life a lot easier to have this man on offense. I think Mac Jones has a new best friend in Mike Williams.
Even if the Patriots don’t make any other significant additions to their offense through free agency, they would be a much more dangerous team on the ball if Williams were in the lineup.
His ability to command the safety assist over the top would open up a ton of opportunities in the middle range where Jones is seemingly more comfortable throwing the ball.
We’ll see if the Patriots have the same level of interest that Esden suggests the team should have in Williams.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest Patriots-related news, rumours, content and more!