Eye on the Draft: Why USC WR Nelson Agholor could be a Patriot

(Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)
After looking at defensive tackles, cornerbacks, and offensive guards, it is finally time to turn our attention to everyone else. The Patriots have needs at those previously mentioned positions, but the Pats, more often than not, draft the best player available when their time on the clock starts. With this final week, we at Patriots Life will look at every other position with players that the Patriots could be potentially drafting.

One position that has been under a microscope over the last several years has been the wide receiver position. Since the days of Moss and Welker, people have yearned to have a truly dynamic passing attack capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. Last year provided a glimpse at the closest thing we've seen since 2007 to a dominant passing attack using the varied skills of Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Brian Tyms, and Danny Amendola. While these names were enough to provide New England with another Lombardi, there is still much to be desired.

This is where the draft could provide a spark. This year's draft is deep at the WR position; almost as deep and as talented as last year's crop. So how early would the Patriots potentially tap into this well of talent? I think the very first round. That WR could be USC's Nelson Agholor.

This tidbit is from Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook from an area scout:

USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor is receiving a lot of late-first round attention. Said one competing area scout, "I just hope he doesn't go to the Patriots. He'd be so great there."

Height: 6'
Weight: 198 lbs
Arm Length: 32 1/4”
Hand Size: 9 1/4"

Combine Results:
4.42 40 Yard Dash
2.59 20 Yard Split
1.59 10 Yard Split
12 Reps of 225 on Bench

Pro Day Results:
125" Broad Jump
6.83 3 Cone Drill
4.34 20 Yard Shuttle

Professional Comparison:
Jeremy Maclin - One follower mentioned him as a comparison and I completely agreed. Coming into the NFL, they had identical size at 6' 198 lbs. They are both adept route runners that can make catches in a variety of ways. Neither are blazing receivers, but have a great combination of straight line speed and quickness that make them a threat anywhere on the field. With their size and abilities, they are able to play a variety of roles and positions on offense that will allow their team's to put them in the best position to make plays.

Can play all over the field, from the backfield, to the slot, to the outside. Team captain for USC. Natural hands catcher - rarely bobbles ball, clean catches. Great body control. Consistently watches the ball into his hands. Shows good awareness of the sideline and first down marker. Can double as a kick/punt returner. Knows how to run routes, sell double moves, foot plants are firm and powerful. Finds open space when running routes. Runs a complete route tree.

At 0:00-0:30 - One of his speed on display in the punt return game.
At 3:42-4:09 - Shows off his ability to track the ball over his should. Keeps running full speed                                     throughout. No celebrating.

At 0:30-1:12 - Another example of his explosiveness in open space.
At 2:42-2:56 - Turns nothing into a big gain.

Dances around too much with the ball in his hands, can lose unnecessary yards. Doesn't consistently break down on stalk blocks, often runs past defenders. Occasionally gets afraid of the big hit when he goes up for a pass or crosses over the middle. Physical press corners could frustrate him at the line of scrimmage. Can struggle with awkward passes. Lacks the strength to fight through tackles and hold blocks.

Late 1st/early 2nd. A few teams may take a shot at him before the Patriots pick, namely the Eagles, Ravens, Panthers, and Saints. A few factors that may play into his availability is if teams reach for players like Breshad Perriman, Dorial Green-Beckham, Phillip Dorsett, and Jaelen Strong. All of these are potential 1st rounders, and a few teams have been doing more work on them than Agholor.

Will the Patriots draft him?
Hopefully. No receiver other than Edelman can do the variety of things that Agholor could bring to this offense. With him in place, the Patriots will have a top WR to carry them into the future and beyond. One day we could see Agholor catching passes from Jimmy Garoppolo. Until then, he can step up and play as soon as he gets comfortable with Brady. Given his intelligence and route runing ability, that may not take too long.

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