Much has been made about the New England Patriots not selecting a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft.
But what about Bill Belichick’s decision to not pick a single wide receiver?
“I’m pretty much mystified by that,” NBC Sports’ Peter King said on the latest edition of “The Michael Holley Podcast.”
This year’s wide receiver class was considered one of the best in NFL history, with elite top-level talent and incredible depth. Yet the Patriots didn’t dip their toes into the receiver pool, even though the position was an obvious weakness for New England in 2019. It represents a strange strategy, to say the least.
“Look at where the game is going,” King added. “Last year, the 49ers with the 36th pick in the draft take (wide receiver) Deebo Samuel. You watched the Super Bowl, he’s one of the five best players on the field in the Super Bowl. And now you look this year, and they trade up from 31 to go get Brandon Aiyuk (at No. 25), another receiver they felt was the best all-around receiver this year in the draft … So, they have expended great draft capital in the last couple of years on the receiver position, and that to me is where the game is going.”
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The Patriots, in their defense, selected N’Keal Harry in the first round last year, marking the first time in the Belichick era that New England drafted a wide receiver in Round 1. It’s possible he could make a huge leap in his second season after a rookie campaign marred by injuries.
Still, the Patriots wound up adding 10 players via this year’s draft: a safety, three linebackers, three offensive linemen, two tight ends and a kicker. It’s perplexing they didn’t add a single wideout to a depth chart currently highlighted by Harry, Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers and Marqise Lee.
“When I saw what the Patriots did in the draft this year, the first thought that went through my mind is, ‘Bill’s trying to build a team that will win games 16-13,’ ” King said.
Maybe the formula will work. After all, as King acknowledged, Belichick deserves the benefit of the doubt based on his track record.
But steering clear of a quarterback and a wide receiver is a bold decision by the Patriots as they prepare to navigate life without Tom Brady and potentially hand the keys to an unproven second-year signal-caller in Jarrett Stidham, especially when you consider New England’s offensive struggles last season.
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