In case you missed the 2019 NFL season, the New England Patriots need a wide receiver. Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all-time, struggled to do much of anything with that underwhelming supporting cast, and Bill Belichick hasn’t done much to improve life for Jarrett Stidham. Fortunately, the 2020 NFL Draft is stacked to the brim with talent at the wide receiver position, and the Patriots could select multiple throughout the duration of the draft.
New England Patriots Wide Receiver Targets in 2020 NFL Draft
First Round, 23rd Overall: Justin Jefferson, LSU [NFL Draft Profile]
Assuming that the big three of Ceedee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs are off the board, Justin Jefferson is a perfect fit for New England. The big slot receiver possesses fantastic body control, great hands, and should be a welcome addition to the Patriots depth chart. While he may not possess the same upside as a guy like Denzel Mims, he’s a much safer pick and could develop into a security blanket for Jarrett Stidham.
Second Round – No Current Picks: Michael Pittman Jr., USC [NFL Draft Profile]
The Patriots spent the 2019 season investing in bigger receivers, and Michael Pittman Jr. definitely fits the mold there. At 6’-4” and 223 pounds, Pittman has the build of a tight end with the route running prowess of a wide receiver. While he’s not the fastest or quickest, he still manages to separate while using his big body to win in contested catch situations. He has a great catch radius and should compete to start right out of the gate.
Third Round – 87th, 98th, 100th Overall: Van Jefferson, Florida
In most years, Van Jefferson would never last until late in the third round. However, thanks to the depth at the position, the Patriots have a chance to grab a guy that can make an impact right out of the gate. Jefferson is a great route runner with a solid catch radius and the ability to get open down the field. While his hands are something of an issue, he’s a fantastic find in the third round.
Fourth Round – 125th Overall: K.J. Hill, Ohio State [NFL Draft Profile]
Julian Edelman isn’t getting any younger, and the Patriots need to find their slot receiver of the future. K.J. Hill might not be the fastest and definitely has a limited ceiling, but he’s absolutely lethal in the short part of the field. While the easy comparison is Edelman, Hill is more of a Danny Amendola due to his relative lack of explosion after the catch and good-but-not-great route running. Still, he’s a great piece to have and should be a strong complementary weapon in the offense.
Fifth Round – No Current Picks: Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin
As you’d expect from a receiver projected to go in the fifth round, Quintez Cephus is not a well-rounded prospect. However, he is genuinely great at outmuscling defenders at the point of attack and has a large catch radius. These traits could make Cephus an intriguing red zone option, but his inability to separate and lack of after the catch potential limits his ultimate ceiling.
Alternate Option: Quartney Davis
Sixth Round – 195th, 204th, 212th, 213rd Overall: Joe Reed, UVA
Joe Reed is fairly underwhelming as a prospect, but that’s just what you have to expect in the sixth round. The slot receiver has a knack for finding holes in zone coverage but isn’t a threat after the catch and struggles to separate in man coverage. His biggest appeal comes on special teams, as he proved to be a solid returner for UVA.
Alternate Option: Dezmon Patmon
Seventh Round – 230th, 235th, 241st: Tyrie Cleveland, Florida
Tyrie Cleveland probably won’t ever be much of anything, but I genuinely cannot understand how he’s projected to go in the seventh round. From a tools standpoint alone, Cleveland runs a blazing 4.46 40-yard dash and tested in the 83rd and 90th percentile for the broad jump and vertical jump, respectively. While he still needs time to learn the nuances of the position, the raw skills are there and he’d be a great late-round dart throw.
Alternate Options: Juwan Johnson, Stephen Guidry
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