The New England Patriots need reinforcements at several offensive positions, and the current belief is that they'll address quarterback first with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Could wide receiver be next on their list?
The Patriots have a pair of selections on Day 2 -- the second pick in the second round (No. 34 overall) and the fourth pick in the third round (No. 68 overall) -- and a quality pass-catcher could be available at either position. The 2024 class is loaded with talented wideouts, as NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has 11 receivers on his "Big Board" of the top 50 overall prospects.
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Which receiver could be a good fit in New England? Patriots.com's Evan Lazar has spent his week at 2024 Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., and one player in particular has stood out: Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson.
"(Wilson has) been one of the best players on the field both days for either team," Lazar told our Phil Perry on the latest Next Pats Podcast. "Just a smooth route runner, incredibly shifty, crafty with his routes, and he made a one-handed catch at the end of practice today that had the entire place going crazy."
Lazar then gave Wilson an NFL comparison that should catch the attention of Patriots fans.
"He's got ball skills, good body control, route running," Lazar said of Wilson. "The comp that I keep going back to with him is (Detroit Lions wide receiver) Amon-Ra St. Brown. Just a really smooth player in and out of his breaks, efficient route work, really good at the top of the route, understands how to set up leverage in his stem.
"I'm really high on Roman Wilson. I was before coming here, and this week has done nothing but stamp that for me. I think he's a really a good bet on Day 2 probably of the draft."
St. Brown is a lofty comparison for Wilson. The two-time Pro Bowler has been a receiving machine in Detroit, averaging 105 catches and 1,196 receiving yards per season since the Lions took him in the fourth round of the 2021 draft. Wilson also is on the smaller side for a wideout at 6-foot, 190 pounds, so it's worth wondering how he'd pair with Patriots slot receiver DeMario Douglas.
Then again, Wilson lined up all over the field last season while totaling 799 yards and 12 touchdowns for the national champion Wolverines, and Lazar believes he can do the same at the NFL level.
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"I think the one thing about Pop (Douglas) is, I see him as a true slot, almost like an 'F slot' in their offense, whereas I think a guy like Roman Wilson can play that true Z role where he plays a little bit inside a little bit outside," Lazar said. "I just love the idea of putting him stacks, bunches, bringing him in motion off the line of scrimmage, and then just allowing him to get into a lot of space and use that route running to create separation.
"That's what the Lions do such a good job with St. Brown, is getting him into really advantageous spots to open up two-way goes and allow him to get open at the top of the route. I see a lot of the same traits with Roman Wilson. You also saw at Michigan that he can carry the ball a little bit on end-arounds, jet sweeps, things like that."
Wilson isn't among Jeremiah's top 50 overall prospects, so he'll likely be a Round 2 or 3 selection. But perhaps his stock will rise after an impressive showing in Mobile.
Also in this episode:
- The latest on the Patriots' OC search
- Have any QBs stood out at the Senior Bowl?
- Stock down at the Senior Bowl