Sunday 7: Patriots likely will break trend of not drafting wide receiver high in NFL draft

Ryan Hannable
April 14, 2019 - 6:38 am
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1. The perception is Bill Belichick typically doesn’t draft wide receivers high in the draft and when he does they don’t usually work out (ie. Chad Jackson). The numbers back it up, too. Under Belichick, the Patriots haven't drafted a receiver higher than No. 36 (Jackson in 2006) and they haven't picked one in the top 100 since Aaron Dobson (No. 59 in 2012). That is going to have to change this year. The Patriots’ wide receivers depth chart is weak with only Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett being locks to make the roster as of now. There also aren’t many, if any at all, worthy free agents left and then players who could have been part of trades are being signed to extensions. It’s also worth noting the Patriots have been very active with meeting with some of the top wide outs in this year’s class, so it really does appear they are planning on taking one with one of their top picks. There will be quite a bit of pressure on whoever is selected given the current depth chart and also the fact Tom Brady likely won’t be around much during the spring, so there won’t be much time to develop chemistry until July and training camp. Counting on a receiver through the draft is a risky proposition, but they did it to themselves by taking a number of swing-and-misses at the position last offseason.

2. Speaking of wide receivers, Chris Hogan signed a one-year deal with the Panthers on Friday and that is an indication the Patriots really weren’t interested in him returning. A one-year deal would have made sense for them at this point given the lack of options left on the open market, but allowing him to sign elsewhere shows they were ready to move on. The move is also somewhat interesting for Hogan considering how far away Carolina is from Long Island where his wife, who his a doctor, and their young twins live. Hogan traveled back-and-forth from Foxboro a great deal the last few seasons.

3. With Patrick Chung reportedly getting extended through 2021, it’s worth wondering where things stand with Julian Edelman? Not only with his deal only going through the end of this coming season, but also the fact he only has a base salary of $2 million. It isn’t like cap space is an issue for the team anymore, so an extension for Edelman would make sense not only to make sure he’s around beyond this year, but give him a pay bump he deserves. Yes, Edelman is 32 years old, but Chung is 31, so age really shouldn’t be an issue.

4. There’s been a lot of buzz in recent mock drafts of the Patriots selecting a cornerback high in the draft in a few weeks. This doesn’t make much sense at all considering what the Patriots already have at the position, including second-year players J.C. Jackson, Duke Dawson and Keion Crossen. There are obviously positions of greater need, especially tight end, wide receiver and defensive line so it truly would  be a surprise to see them select a cornerback at that point in the draft.

5. Belichick had an interesting comment during his pre-draft press conference on Wednesday noting there’s some misinformation going around when it comes to what players/positions teams are interested in. “I think there’s a lot of misinformation that’s out there now,” he said. “There’s sometimes other accurate information that you can obtain through one source or another. I think sometimes it’s relevant. A lot of times it’s not the team right in front of you; it’s a team somewhere else. A team that could be, depending on what round you’re in, at a location behind you, that may be looking at a certain position or a certain player that could affect your draft strategy, as well. The team in front of you might not have any need for or you know they wouldn’t even want a type of player, maybe players that you’re considering but that doesn’t really mean anything because anybody could move up into that spot and take that player. It’s all relevant.” Not only does the media have trouble figuring this out, other teams do as well.

6. It is looking like the Patriots officially will be having joint practices in Detroit and Nashville the first two weeks of the preseason. There will be quite a bit of travel logistics to work through. It’s likely the team will return to Foxboro for a few days over the weekend in between games, but some of the traveling party may go right from Detroit to Nashville. If there was more traveling involved maybe the team would do the same, but the flights aren’t relatively long so returning to Gillette Stadium will likely be in the cards. The bad news is for Patriots fans who will miss out on a good chunk of practices those two weeks.

7. This could be the week where the NFL schedule gets released. The past four years the schedule has been released on the following dates: April 19, April 20, April 14 and April 21. Relating to the Patriots, the No. 1 question is who will they open the season with? There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Browns, but the sense is the league might save that for later in the year. Other options are the Chiefs, Cowboys and Jets.

Related: Patriots reportedly extend Patrick Chung through 2021