1996 was the last time the Patriots drafted a receiver in the first round.
Terry Glenn, a 5’11, 195 pound, Ohio State prospect, was selected with the seventh pick in the 1996 draft and went on to catch 90 passes for 1132 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Now, the Patriots are reportedly eyeing an Ole Miss prospect and he is eyeing them right back.
AJ Brown, a 6’0, 226 pound receiver of Ole Miss has already met with the Patriots and has briefly referenced his wish to land in New England on his Twitter account.
Combine and Traits
Brown ran a 4.49 forty-yard dash, benched 19 reps on the bench and had a 36.5 inch vertical leap in the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
His good athletic ability and good size is just a small part of the picture with AJ Brown.
Brown demonstrated that he is not only a talented big slot receiver at Ole Miss but also an excellent playmaker.
When watching AJ play, it is not hard to realize that he was actually the best receiver at Ole Miss.
However, he constantly found himself overshadowed by this mystical creature of sorts named DK Metcalf.
Metcalf will be long gone before our 32nd pick in the draft, however, Brown should be available.
If this is the case, the Patriots should immediately jump to pick a receiver in the first round for the first time in 23 years.
The Kind of Player He Is
He may not exactly be the best at getting separation at the next level, which is something Belichick looks for. However, Brown’s physicality and pretty good speed allow him to win battles for the ball when covered.
Brown is a quick processor, has a high football IQ, and should have the smarts to grasp a playbook that others have struggled with in the past.
Could Help Heal Some Wounds Caused By Gronk’s Departure
Having a smart target on the field will be beneficial to the Patriots offense with Gronk leaving for retirement. Gronk’s smarts was one of his most valuable traits and drafting a young, big, chain-mover would help alleviate that pain.
Best Receiver in the Draft
After extensive research, I am convinced that AJ Brown has the potential to be the best receiver in this draft.
AJ’s real competition will be Hakeem Butler out of Iowa State. A familiar face to Brown, DK Metcalf out of Ole Miss, will also challenge this title.
Brown has a proven track record to as a powerful runner with great vision, great blocking, and good elusiveness.
Brown can easily adjust to the football on the ground or in the air. He can catch in traffic. He can run good routes.
Brown really does not possess many weaknesses in game film.
Besides the questions of being able to consistently separate, Brown is a very strong prospect.
He could end up being either the second or third receiver in the Patriots offense. A trio of Edelman, Brown and hopefully Josh Gordon would be very strong.
Comparisons to Anquan Boldin are pretty reasonable and realistic. Those who have said so made sure every knew Brown has more speed than Boldin ever did.
AJ Brown is a safe pick. He can be a leader for the team and a primary target for Brady and predecessor quarterbacks. Cross your fingers that AJ Brown slips to the 32nd spot in this month’s draft.