The New England Patriots passing game is already set up to look a lot better than it did in 2020. If NFL analyst Albert Breer is correct, it’s going to get another boost on April 29.
You might think DeVonta Smith, the Heisman trophy-winning wide receiver, would be the first player off the board at his position, but if you look at some recent mock drafts, LSU’s JaMarr Chase is projected to go ahead of the lean and productive Bama wideout.
Chase is a phenomenal prospect, so it’s understandable, but there may be some questions about whether Smith is higher on the team’s draft boards than his college teammate Jaylen Waddle.
If the WR-needy teams like Waddle over Smith, who some see as too thin, there is a chance the Heisman trophy winner could be available when the Patriots pick at No. 15–assuming they don’t trade up to find their QB of the future.
NBC Sports Boston’s Albert Breer talked about Smith’s fit with the Patriots. He calls Smith “their type of guy.” Here is a snippet of the video.
"He's their type of guy."@AlbertBreer explains why he thinks the #Patriots will draft Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith if he's still on the board at 15 in the NFL Draft 🏈 pic.twitter.com/wlYORhrddR
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) March 31, 2021
Smith had a mammoth junior season for the national champions. He caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and an unreal 23 TDs in just 13 games.
He should be every team’s type of guy.
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Smith Would Solidify the Patriots’ Group of Pass Weapons
Picture this for a moment when you consider the Patriots’ potential pass weapons in 2021.
If New England drafted Smith–an excellent route runner with great hands–we’re looking at almost a complete transformation. New England would be joining him with a wide receiver group that already includes Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Julian Edelman (assuming he’s healthy); Bill Belichick and Co. would have assembled a strong Top-4 at the position.
Mix them with newly acquired tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, and pass-catching running back James White, and the Patriots will have gone from a team devoid of guys to find through the air in 2020 to a team with a strong group of aerial weapons in 2021.
Smith has All-Pro, Marvin-Harrison-like potential, so it’s tough to quantify his value to New England or any other NFL offense.
Patriots Might Need to Trade Up for Smith
Most mock drafts have someone hopping all over Smith inside the Top 10. With the Patriots set at No. 15, it appears they will need to move up if they want Smith.
That appears to be the case for most of the sexier names in the draft. The 15th pick seemingly has New England just out of range to draft the players whose names most resonate with fans. After an aggressive offseason, will Belichick use a similar approach during the draft?
If not, Patriots fans might as well get used to watching Smith put up numbers for another team throughout his NFL career.
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