Mel Kiper projects Michigan WR Devin Funchess to Patriots

(Kirthmon F. Dozier, MCT)
In Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, his second so far, he projects the Patriots to draft Michigan WR Devin Funchess with the 32nd pick. The 6'5", 230 lb, hybrid WR/TE is an impressive combination of size and athleticism that many fans are drooling over for the Patriots to take. Does this pick make sense though?

It Does:

The guy is a freak of nature. With a 6'5" frame packing 230 lbs of muscle, Funchess is a rare package of physical traits in a player that plays WR. Many people compare him to the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Kelvin Benjamin. Despite his size, Funchess has the flexibility and athleticism to be a smooth route runner. Along with that size is his ability to bounce off of smaller defenders that lack the size necessary to bring him down. Using his experience as a TE and as a WR gives him the comfortability to play inside and out. He could give the Patriots another big target to pair with LaFell, Gronkowski, and Wright.

It Doesn't:

The Patriots already have two players that are very similar to Funchess' size and skill set in Brandon LaFell and Tim Wright. Both are bigger guys, with above average athleticism, that aren't big enough to be a TE, but not fast enough to be a burning WR. Another turnoff of Funchess is the amount of drops he exhibited over the years. I don't believe the Patriots liked any of the TEs in last year's draft due to their inconsistent hands, and Funchess is no different at WR. Brady needs to have confidence in his targets, and inconsistent hands won't help that. He is rather underdeveloped and doesn't have the completeness that the Patriots look for at WR.

Overall, while I think the Patriots will take a shot at a WR at some point in the draft, I don't think it will be here with Funchess. Once the combine comes and goes, his name will likely be brought up more for his athleticism, but in terms of playmaking ability he underwhelms. The Patriots very well could go best player available here, but it needs to be the right fit, not a question mark that doesn't fit the skill set they are lacking on offense. Don't fall for the same thought processes that made teams reach for TEs in last years draft that didn't pan out in similar roles that Funchess would fill. He is a good player, but to be a 1st round pick, he needs to show improvement in his hands and attacking the ball in the air. If he is able to do that, expect a team to reach for him before the Patriots pick, making him landing with the Patriots a long shot at this point in time.

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