2016 Prospect Primer- TE’s and WR’s

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Well, I am back. I was hoping to get this out much earlier but the never ending non story that is DeflateGate disrupted everything with the announcement that Brady’s 4 game suspension was upheld.  After that, we had the start of camp, so I figured I would wait until today when there really was no Patriots news.  Today I will list the guys I will be keeping an eye on at both Tight End and Wide Receiver.


Bill Belichick has a special place in his heart for the Tight End position.  Year in and year out it seems the Patriots draft at least one Tight End.  It is a position that an offensive coordinator can use to create mismatches and the Patriots love to do just that. The team is blessed to have arguably the best Tight end in the game right now and if he continues to play like he does, he might be the best ever.  They also brought in Scott Chandler who is another big bodied pass catcher that should put up good numbers in this offense.  The Patriots just drafted AJ Derby who is an athletic player with an intriguing skill set that needs time to develop. The rest of the group are role players.


Pharaoh Brown, Oregon (6’6″, 250 Lbs) Coming off a serious injury that almost cost him his leg, Brown may not even play. Huge frame and incredible athleticism, it will be intriguing to see what he is able to do this year.

Nick Vannett, Ohio State (6’6″, 260 Lbs)

Jay Rome, Georgia (6’6″, 249 Lbs)

Kyle Carter, Penn State (6’3″, 245 Lbs)

Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt (6’5″, 245 Lbs)

Darion Griswold, Arkansas St. (6’5″, 264 Lbs)

Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky (6’6″, 250 Lbs)

LaQuan McGowan, Baylor (6’7″, 410 Lbs) That is not a typo

Jerell Adams, South Carolina (6’6″, 231 Lbs)

Bryce Williams, East Carolina (6’6″, 258 Lbs)\

Jake McGee, Florida (6’6″, 243 Lbs)


O.J. Howard, Alabama (6’6″, 247 Lbs)

Hunter Henry, Arkansas (6’6″, 255 Lbs)

Evan Engram, Ole Miss (6’3″, 220 Lbs)

Johnny Mundt, Oregon (6’4″, 252 Lbs)

Class Overview:

This Tight End class is pretty weak when you look at the Senior prospects.  The class could be helped out if some of the talented underclassmen declare for the draft this year.  Even with the potential early entries, the class will not be considered strong.  There are some guys who do intrigue me and with Belichick’s fondness for the position, there is a good posibility that the Patriots will add a Tight End at some point in the draft.


This is a position that is hard to put a finger on from a Patriot’s perspective.  For the last few years draftniks have been mocking a Wide Receiver to the Patriots and some have even thought it would be early.  The last two year’s, the Wide Receiver draft class has been considered one of the strongest positions in the draft and yet the Patriots did not draft a single receiver in either one of those drafts.  Brady makes the passing game look very good, but the Patriots do have talented players at the position. Edelman, LaFell, and Amendola are a solid starting group and there is still some hope for former second round pick Aaron Dobson.  Guys like Tyms and Gibson could also fight for a roster spot.  I would have thought with all the talent in the last couple of drafts that the Patriots would have brought in at least one to try and develop. Maybe this is the draft that they decide to do that.


Duke Williams, Auburn (6’2″, 216 Lbs)

Josh Doctson, TCU (6’2″, 195 Lbs)

Tajae Sharp, UMASS (6’3″, 200 Lbs)

Leonte Caroo, Rutgers (6’0″, 205 Lbs)

Sterling Shephard, Oklahoma (5’10”, 195 Lbs)

Mekale McKay, Cincinnatti (6’5″, 195 Lbs)

Nelson Spruce, Colorado (6’1″, 195 Lbs)

D.J. Foster, Arizona State (5’11”, 195 Lbs.)

Quinshad Davis, UNC (6’4″, 205 Lbs)

Jamal Robinson, Louisiana Lafayette (6’4″, 205 Lbs)

Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (6’1″, 192 Lbs)

Alonzo Russell, Toledo (6’4″, 205 Lbs)


Tyler Boyd, Pitt (6’2″, 190 Lbs)

LaQuan Tredwell, Ole Miss (6’2″, 229 Lbs)

Travin Dural, LSU (6’2″, 192 Lbs)

MarQuez North, Tennessee (6’4″, 221 Lbs)

Corey Robinson, Notre Dame (6’5″, 205 Lbs)

Demarcus Robinson, Florida (6’1″, 205 Lbs)

Mike Williams, Clemson (6’3″, 205 Lbs)

Rashard Higgins, Colorado St (6’2″, 188 Lbs)

Cayleb Jones, Arizona (6’3″, 215 Lbs)

Michael Thomas, Ohio State (6’3″, 212 Lbs)

D’Vario Montgomery, Iowa State (6’6″, 213 Lbs)

Will Fuller, Notre Dame (6’0″, 188 Lbs)

Corey Davis, Western Michigan (6’3″, 205 Lbs)

De’Runnya Wilson, Miss. St. (6’5″, 215 Lbs)

Class Overview:

As you can see, there is a lot of names on this list.  The position should be strong again especially if a majority of the underclassman come out, which I suspect they will.  One thing that caught my eye is the size of the group. There are a lot of tall receivers in this draft class which may or may not be a good thing when it comes to the Patriots.  With the way college systems run their offenses these days, I think we will continue to see eye popping numbers from the Wide Receiver group going forward. It will be interesting to see how well these recent classes that have been considered strong will do in the NFL, but the early returns seem promising and at some point the Patriots will have to jump in and grab one of these guys.

As I mentioned in my last post, if there are any players at these positions that you feel I missed or that you are high on, please let me know. I want to make sure I can get the most comprehensive list out there. Also, follow me on twitter @midwestpatsfan and tell your other draft/Patriots friends to do so as well. My number of followers is embarrassing low.










57 Responses to “2016 Prospect Primer- TE’s and WR’s”

  1. GM-in-Training says:

    Who will be the 2015-16 Season Move Tight End?

    The Pats have a couple of good receiving Y-TE in Gronk and Chandler.

    They seem to be kicking a lot of tires for additional TE, and most of them are 6’5″ and not the usual profile for a move TE. Of the players below, the bottom 5 have practice squad eligibility. From what I’ve read, Bequette actually moves the best, and Mundine by far scored the most TD in college. Do any of you have anything to add on their relative strengths?

    The candidates on the roster right now are:
    …………………40-Time…………3-Cone-Time…….Catching….Blocking……….Special Teams
    Hooman………… 4.77 ………………7.67 ………………. ~ …………. + ……………… +
    Devlin…………….5.03 ………………7.23 ………………. ~ …………. + ……………… +
    Mundine………….4.67 ………………6.98 ………………. + …………. – ……………… ?
    Bequette…………4.82 ………………6.90 ………………. ? ………….. – ……………… ?
    Derby……………..4.69 ………………6.99 ……………… + ………….. – ……………….?[Injured Reserve]


  2. GM-in-Training says:

    Pats traded Jordan Devey to SF for Asante Cleveland (TE 6’5″, 260, ran a 4.88 40 out of college and a 7.33 3-Cone).

    This player is an enigma. He has no catches in the NFL, in 6 games played. In his college career, he played all 4 years at Miami with 13 catches and 1 TD. Special Teams? And yet, he’s not considered a blocking specialist. NinersNation did a profile on him and thought maybe practice squad, and maybe that’s the Pat’s plan too. http://www.ninersnation.com/2015/6/19/8812687/49ers-roster-asante-cleveland-90-in-90-breakdowns

  3. Russell says:

    Looking at the Patriots Draft card next year;

    3d Comp. for loss of Revis
    4th Comp. for loss of Vereen
    7th From Mallett deal
    Loss of Browner and addition of Sheard looks like a wash, in Compensatory considerations.

    • Yohy says:

      You know when this whole deflation flap started I was more angry at the loss of picks than the suspension. But now I don’t care because the Pats find more talent in the fourth round and lower than in 1st round. Very disappointed with Easley. I know he’s not 100% yet but dang it he was not worth the risk. I think Flowers might be more productive.

      Hope Trey doesn’t turn into that LB from Michigan drafted a few years back. Saw him in a preseason game. Had a sack and an interception in the same game. Got hurt and never heard from again. Wish I could remember his name, Crable maybe.

    • Jeff says:

      From what I understand, the Pats are more likely to get a 3rd and 3 6th rounders than the 3rd and the 4th. You need guys to really sign for mega bucks in order to get that 3rd or 4th round compensation. Typically, 6th and 7th round picks don’t mean much as most don’t make the roster, and fewer still play out even their intial contracts, but with that many chances at the lottery, there’s an opportunity to not only boost competition in training camp but maybe find a player or two. It also means Bill may not be so anxious to trade his 4th and 5th rounders to move back, or he may make some in-season trades like he did for Ayers and Casillas (who helped us get the 6th round compensatory picks, by the way).

    • Russell says:

      Yes, I agree I don’t think loseing the 1st pick is a big deal, coach often see’s value in the first pick, to trade and not so much in a player. This past year Coach was ready to trade the 1st pick, until DT Brown surprisingly dropped to the Patriots.

      It’s very early but improjecting LB Curt Maggitt with thier 2nd pick in 2016 draft. I’ve studied alot on him ,and unless he moves up draft boards, I think he maybe available to the Patriots. I also like WR Tevaun Smith,as a 2nd-3d pick.
      Always interesting to see how things change however.

  4. Russell says:

    Will the Patriots pick-up WR George Farmer cut by the Cowboys? 6’1″ 218 lbs Cutting Boyce maybe in the future, And I would put Dobson on te P-Squad. WR Harper looks very good to get a spot, Tyms has been banged-up.

    • Russell says:

      Miami cut TE Arther Lynch 6’5″ 252lbs today, he was a prospect I watch alot in 2013, and I had on my Patriots draft board. Hope BB can get him off the Wire!!!

      • GM-in-Training says:

        Why??? You can’t have all the players in the league on your roster. Miami cut him to save a measly $435,000. Even out of college Lynch was known as an inconsistent receiver who couldn’t separate, and lacked finishing strength as a blocker. Literally every TE on the Pats’ roster is more physically talented, or at least (Hooman) more accomplished as a blocking specialist.

        • Russell says:

          The Question should be why not? This is the time of year to give guys a look, see who improves, fits in, works hard, and learns his craft. I followed Lynch in College, he needs work for sure, but the guy is smart and a good blocker. His size is better than Hooman, and his cost is less as well. Now he may not be as good as Hooman, but thats why you look, to find out.
          I feel Boyce has been here 3 years, and he still does not attack the ball out of his break (in my opinion) so why not cut him and look at Farmer if available to the Patriots? Other players are brought into the Patriots camp for a week or two and cut because of ……., but you had to look to know.

        • Jeff says:

          They could take a look, but usually when a guy is cut before roster trim down time it’s because they’ve fallen to the back of the depth chart – in this guy’s case, he fell behind 2 undrafted free agents I think – so it would seem he’s not done anything with his potential at this point. These prospects become far less exciting after there is proof that their athleticism is not translating to the football field. Still, I suppose you never know…

  5. Russell says:

    The D played fairly well, CB Ryan can not get beat long. Freeny at LB looked solid as did Flowers at DE before he got banged-up. Fletcher, Butler looked solid.
    On the O White caught the ball well, and made some good blocks. RB Gray played well, QB- G just rushed it somtimes, an just needs more work. and read his teams blocking line-up. Alittle more of a Run game would help. I would like see Kettani run out of the HB position instead of the FB spot, and let White line up at FB and alow him into some pass plays from that spot. Let Kettani run the ball, like Blount.

    • Ryan says:

      Garroppolo seemed like he needed to get much more comfortable in the offense. He took a long time to throw when he wasn’t dumping it off and didn’t show a great deal of pocket presence. He needs to be able to play faster or teams will just blitz him every down.

      When he was able to go through his progression he looked good. Sadly, this didn’t happen often enough.

  6. Russell says:

    Breaking down the game film of last night’s game;

    1st..Boyce does not attack the ball out of his break, and does not have his hands moving into a catching position. Now I know you don’t want to tip of the CB by your hands moving towards the ball, BUT if Boyce put his hands up on EVERY pass play there would not be any tip off.
    2nd.. The Packers were over loading the blocking to OG Jacksons side, This had the OC moving to his right, and the DT over Mason was cutting across his face and looping in the OC hole. With Mason backing up in pass protection, this made space for the DT to rush up the middle, and a difficult block for Mason.
    3d…. Kick returning looks very poor, Boyce again waits for the ball to start moving, and moves in the direction of the return set-up blocking. The Patriots maybe better off with a player (at or near the goal line),calling instructions to the returner, as to the best direction to move. This player NEEDS to be fast enough so the returner does not run up his back. Would like to see Harper on Kick-off returns, and Slater calling instructions.

    • Ryan says:

      Looks like it’s time to cut Boyce. Every time he plays you can see great potential and great failure. It’s his third year and he doesn’t look ready to play WR at an NFL level. Chris Harper looked better than him on offense and in the return game, so I’m not sure he even has a spot on the p-squad.

      • Russell says:

        I have to agree, if Boyce has not learned to attack the ball out of his break, after 3 years in the organization, he will not be consistant ever doing it. I to was MUCH impressed with Harper. So for now Boyce may stay around, but no way he makes the 53 man roster, however Harper has a real chance. I’m not a fan of Dobson ethier, I would have cut him last year. His hamstring will keep him out for a few weeks. AAUGG, cut them both!! There will be some great talent on the wire after the player cut down to 75.

        • Ryan says:

          Can the team still do IR-return designations? That’s the only thing that would make me want to keep Dobson at this point. I like enough of what I’ve seen from him when he’s healthy but not enough to keep him on as an injured player. He seems like he could fit in, but his rash of injuries definitely makes me wary and frustrated. Pretty tough choice for me.

        • Jeff says:

          They can, but they only get one, so it’s a bit of a precious commodity. Sounds like Dobson is at least back to doing some conditioning, so let’s see if he can come back soon.

  7. Russell says:

    I look for Tom to play 10-12 plays tonight. Also think we will see a bunch of Eric Kettani at RB. BB will have some interesting players to choose from at RB after the cut to 75.

  8. Jeff says:

    Any chance the Pats look at Pierre Thomas or Evan Mathis – two names still on the free agent list at positions where I view the projected starters to be the weakest. Not sure White/Bolden really adequately addresses what we lost with Vereen – might be the biggest dropoff from last year (along with Cornerback). The interior line held up at the end of the year last year, but still was a weakness of the team, and Mathis could provide some talent above what Wendell provides.

    • John says:

      Not sure what you were expecting, but I thought White was more than adequate last night, especially as a Vereen replacement. Vereen took a few years to develop as a player, so you have to assume the same.

      • GM-in-Training says:

        Can White pass block?

        • Russell says:

          RB White has show some OK blocking and Blitz pick-ups, I think the guy is going to do well this year.

      • Jeff says:

        True, White could emerge this year. Vereen certainly made a big jump in year two, but I think Vereen’s ceiling is a bit higher than White’s and the Patriots will suffer if White does not show consistency and they are stuck throwing the ball to Bolden on third down. It think Bolden is fine as a backup who can receive dump-offs for a few yards, but I’d like to see someone who can make something happen and pick up 10-15 yards from time to time (even if you don’t get the 40 yard pass plays we saw with Vereen from time to time).

  9. Yohy says:

    Finally time for football!!! Talk about a love / hate relationship. Love games at Foxboro, the atmosphere, the excitement the new players. Absolutely hate the NFL for this witch hunt they’ve carried on these last eight months. Definitely will have a different feel

    On the topic of draft picks, sad to see Wells go. Thought he could have been an ace special teamer . I hope they don’t end up regretting passing on AJ Cann for Richards.

    Want to see Brown, Grissom, Flowers, and Moore


    • Ryan says:

      In addition to Cann, the team passed on Owamagbe Odighizuwa and D’Joun Smith to take Richards. The team did pick up players at all three of these positions later in the draft, but I think that we may have missed out on a superstar or two in order to overdraft an average safety.

  10. Ryan says:

    Tyler Gaffney was cut/placed on the IR. Looks like Jonas Gray will be the feature back for week one, if one back is even featured.

    I’m still holding out hope that James White can provide some versatility, but we’ll see. Signing Ray Rice right now could really pay off.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Bolden, Gray, White (they all sound like type fonts) and Devlin…Cadet can’t block.

      Bolden, Gray, White and Devlin…sounds like a law firm, but we already had one of those.

  11. Russell says:

    The Patriots traded for OG Ryan Groy 6′ 5″ 320lbs ,undrafted out of Wisconson.Groy played 4 regular season games (3 starts) last year for the bears. No details of the deal, but I would guess a conditional draft pick 6-7th?

    • Russell says:

      Getting OG Ryan Groy in a trade today looks solid, as the Patriots had to have watched tape of Wisconsin before drafting RB James White.
      Much the same as watching Stanford tape to draft OL Cameron Fleming, and seeing RB Tyler Gaffney.

    • ReneKicker says:

      They traded Matt Wells to the Bears, i bet he was going to be cut

  12. Russell says:

    Patriots cut QB Matt Flynn and sign QB Ryan Lindly who played in 4 games with the Arizonia last year.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Flynn was on the PUP list. No use in training camp. There’s talk he might come back later if he gets healthy.

  13. Russell says:

    Looking forward to Mike Gerken’s next article. The Patriots have drafted OL 3 in 2014, and 2 in the 2015 draft. Of this group 4 look solid and will make the roster. So do the Patriots look at an OL in the 2016 draft? There are alot of quality prospects, in college football who maybe available to the Patriots;
    OG ….Trey Braun
    OG/C ..Nick Martin
    OT ….Zach Sterup
    OL…..Garrett Adcock
    to name a few to watch. The Patriots are very strong at finding undrafted Olineman they may not draft a player in 2016, unless a player they like falls to them late. If it was me, bringing in another OG would be a smart move to add depth.

  14. Russell says:

    It sure is nice to listen to a coach belichick media address were the questions are GOOD, and coach give some great information as in the 8/8 address. Coach enjoys talking football when asked quality questions.

  15. Russell says:

    Would you trade Chandler Jones to the 49ers for thier 1st pick in 2016?

  16. Ryan says:

    Direct from Mike Reiss on the Pats cornerback situation:

    “While there has been a regular rotation at right cornerback on a daily basis with Logan Ryan, Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher and rookie Darryl Roberts, there has been almost none of that on the left side. That’s where Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler has taken most of the top reps, and it’s a tell-tale sign to me that he’s currently viewed as the top choice to assume the position held by Darrelle Revis in 2014.”

    Sounds pretty good. If Butler is as good as he sounds and one of those four guys steps up, the secondary could be pretty solid.

    • Russell says:

      Butler sounds like the real deal! Brown and Fletcher are not long term answers, Roberts looks interesting, not a big fan of Ryan. Swanson is a CB to watch, played well last preseason.
      I will not be surpised if the Patriots draft a CB next year3-4th round.

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah Swanson seemed electric last preseason but I can’t see him taking a roster spot save an injury occurring. I like Logan Ryan but I’m not sure he’ll ever be a great player on the outside. I say keep him in the slot or the nickel and give the other outside spot to the more impressive of Fletcher and Brown.

        I don’t think Roberts should start unless absolutely necessary. His arrow is pointing up, but he has to learn first.

  17. Russell says:

    TE Mason Brodine sounds like an interesting pick-up at 6’7″ 252lbs ! If he can grasp the Offence ,TE Bequette maybe in trouble .

  18. Russell says:

    Patriots signed OT/G Mark Asper 6’6″ 321lbs, a former 6th round pick by the Bills in 2012. I think this is interesting as BB maybe looking for depth/P-squad on the OL.

  19. Russell says:

    I think everybody who wrote on this site last year should make a “bold” draft pick for the Patriots, 2016 draft at #64 2nd round. Now I know , it’s very hard to know who will be available, thats why is a bold pick guy/gals.

    I’m going with LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee, coming off a knee injury, he maybe available to the Patriots. You all thought I would say WR Teaun Smith, but I think he will be gone by #64.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      @ Russel,

      Honestly, I’m way more focused on training camp than evaluating college players who have yet to have a 2015 season for the 2016 draft.

      I find it interesting who distinguishes themselves, who eeks through camp, who gets stashed on the practice squad, who gets parked on IR for 6 weeks, etc. We have the extra wrinkle of 1 or maybe more players who will be suspended the first game creating a couple 1-week virtual roster spots.

      For example, I hear Jake Bequette caught a pass in practice yesterday (and also dropped another due to miscommunication with JG). Bequette has the physical tools to be a very good TE. He’s been in the organization for 3 years. He has 1 more year of practice squad eligibility. This is his first offseason at TE, but he has played it some in practice previously. Can he put it together and come off the bench some time this season? That would be an interesting path for a 3rd-round draft pick.

      • Russell says:

        I agree ,I’m watching the waiver wire, and evalueating players for the roster, P-squad, etc. As far as Bequette goes, I think the Patriots keep two TE on the roster, Gronk and Chandler. With Derby going on IR, Bequette looks like a P-Squad back up at TE. OT Fleming a TE in goal line, and “other” packages. OC Andrews also looks like a lock for P-squad, CB Swanson, also the P-squad, with a Dlineman, (Vellano?) olineman, RB, WR, and a LB on the P-squad.
        I enjoy “scouting” College talent to fit in the Patriot organization. I have about 20 players I’m tracking this college year, some I watched last year.

      • Russell says:

        Patriots just added TE mason Brodine, and OG Mark Asper

  20. Russell says:

    To me, the youth at WR for the Patriots is weak. Dobson is a bust in my opinion, with injuries , lack of focus, and his lack of big play ability. Groomng a young QB I think you need some solid Vet. reicevers, and a young WR to grow with your QB. I feel the Patriots will have two developemental QB’s on the 2016 roster, behind Tom.
    Last year I wrote alot about LB/DE Davis Tull, (New Orleans 5th round), this year WR Tevaun Smith is a guy I’m following, who could be a Patriot “fit” at WR. My fear is he will shoot up draft boards out of reach of the Patriots.
    Mike Gurken’s next article maybe on the Olineman in the draft. OT Decker is the best prospect in the country and will go 1-3 in the draft. The Patriots may have a chance at OT Tyler Marz 6’7″ 318 lbs., but again my fear is he moves up boards into the 1st round.

    • Ryan says:

      I wouldn’t worry about guys shooting “out of our reach” yet. The hype trains haven’t even started, and when you get behind a player too early you often overvalue him by the time the draft rolls around. Take for example Davis Tull. I think that you recommended we trade up in the third to get him, but he went in the fifth to NO, as you said. Better to wait until after the college season to project draft position, IMO.

      I’m not trying to point out that you were wrong; we’ve all made tons of terrible predictions. Just saying that starting a hype train too early is a good way to go off the rails.

  21. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Hey Russell, what do you think about Tevaun Smith?

  22. Russell says:

    Mike Gerken add Tevaun Smith , to your list of Seniors, he is well hidden in the Iowa, not so strong passing program. 6’1″ 205 4.48 40yd, Jerry Rice thought enough of this guy to pay him a visit.

  23. Russell says:

    Remember you heard it from me first, WR Tevaun Smith, is the real deal.

  24. Russell says:

    WR I will be watching is, Tevaun Smith ,Iowa , 6’1″ 205 4.48 40yd. This guy is the real deal, just not in a well known passing program.

  25. Jim R says:

    Hope Treadwell will bounce back from that injury, He is fun to watch

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