Buffalo Bills: Ranking the wide receivers in the AFC East
By Rob Spehar
2) New England Patriots
Projected Starters: Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry
One of Tom Brady’s biggest complaints during his final season in New England was the lack of skills at the wide receiver position. His completion percentage for 2019 was 60.8% and he finished with a rating of 88.0. Both of those stats were his lowest since 2013.
Julian Edelman will enter the season with the most experience out of any wide receiver that is on this roster. He was old reliable when Tom Brady needed him, and this past season was no different. He posted some decent numbers netting 100 receptions for 1,117 yards and 6 touchdowns.
As the season wore on, the burden of being the go to guy was taking a toll on his body and it was evident when you watched his performance. At times he looked very sluggish and he was clearly playing through pain. As productive as he usually is, his numbers could have been better. He should be fully good to go when the new season hits and will return to his usual role as the number one receiver this fall.
In mid-October, the Patriots made a deal that sent a second round 2020 draft pick to Atlanta and in return got Mohammed Sanu, who was very productive with Matt Ryan throwing him the ball. He immediately filled in the number 2 role behind Julian Edelman. But, in just his third game, an ankle injury cost him, what looked to be a promising season with the Patriots. Now healed, he is expected play a prominent role in the Patriots aerial attack. With Harry healed and projected to be the WR2. Sanu will fill in nicely as the WR3.
N’Keal Harry was selected 32nd overall in the first round of the 2019 draft but his play was limited due to injury and appeared in only seven games. Once healthy, he made his way back up the ranks and finished as the third wide receiver behind Edelman and Sanu.
Now that Harry is healthy, there will be lofty expectations from him in 2020. There is a lot to be hopeful for when you look at his stats from Arizona State. In three seasons, he complied a very nice stat line. 213 receptions for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. If he can return to that form, he will be in the starting lineup for years to come which will be good news to whoever will be throwing him the football in New England.
There has been a number of different wide receivers who suited up for the Patriots which made it difficult for Brady to form an on field relationship outside of Julian Edelman. The numbers could have been different if there was consistency. With everybody healthy and relatively good depth at the position, this group can perform quite well. It’s because of the lack of consistency, that they are not at number one on this list.