Post Draft Scouting Report: Braxton Berrios, WR

Can Braxton Berrios be the next great slot receiver for the Patriots?

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Even for the most novice of draftniks, the writing was on the wall that Braxton Berrios was going to be a New England Patriot. The team has had a long line of success with players like Berrios and with Amendola gone and Edelman getting up in age and coming off injury, this was the year they brought in the next slot guy. So, does Berrios have the same skill set? Let’s dig into his game a little bit more and see if he does indeed have what it takes to continue the long line of success the Patriots have had with players of his size and athletic profile.

Once again, Berrios was a guy (not shockingly) that I had as a potential Patriot target in the Big Board Series. This is what I wrote about him prior to the draft:

Berrios to the Patriots might be the most mocked pick of any player to team in this entire draft process and with good reason. He is another small, quick twitch athlete who looks to prove he belongs on every single play. Berrios gives maximum effort on every play and in everything he is asked to do. He is a smart player who does a good job of using head/shoulder fakes and changing up his tempo to confuse DB’s. He is an excellent punt returner, showing toughness, vision and patience to be a true threat on every punt return. Obviously, size is the big knock on Berrios. He is on the shorter size, even for the Patriots and at 184 Lbs with little room to add any more weight, he is light. Being a slot receiver in the NFL is a grueling job, and at his size, injury has to be a concern. He has already dealt with multiple injuries in college. His timed speed does not translate to the tape and is not a deep threat. Grade: 7th round

Honestly, and I am not trying to pat myself on the back here, but that scouting report from prior to the draft holds up even after the draft. It could be because it was really easy to see him in this Patriots offense and scouting him before the draft was like scouting him as a Patriot. One thing I didn’t mention in my first report because I don’t see him doing it much in the NFL was the fact that he did track the ball well on deeper routes. He is extremely smart and motivated (valedictorian of Miami’s School of Business and had a double major.) He also was a team captain and is known for his work ethic on and off the field. Like the great players before him who have played the slot, he is short and small. He is the smallest of all the guys the Patriots have had in that role and while he is well built, I do worry about him holding up with the punishment he will take in the NFL. He also has short arms, so his catch radius is really small. Brady has always done well putting the ball where it needs to be, but he is a freak, so down the road, that could be a concern. I think Berrios can win the punt return job immediately while learning the nuances of the NFL slot position and by year 3 of his career, there is a good chance, he is the starter in the slot.

What does the tape show?

We have seen Patriots slot receivers run this route for years. You can see Berrios’s quickness has the DB on his heels and with a subtle move to the outside and then back to the seam, the DB gets all turned around, leaving Berrios wide open.

This is a great throw by the QB here, but Berrios makes a great over the should catch along the sideline. You also see him change up his footwork at the snap which gives him that split second to get some spacing on the corner.

It is tough on some of these clips to get a good idea of what Berrios does well, but be honest, the first time you watched this clip, my guess is you thought the route was heading back outside. Instead, after Berrios goes out of frame, he makes a hard in cut and makes a great catch with defenders close.

Again, another route we have seen run in New England for some time now. The DB has to respect Berrios’s quickness and had no chance when he makes that in cut. If that DB doesn’t bite on that subtle fake to the outside, Berrios is going to be wide open on the out. He puts a lot of pressure on DB’s.

Berrios makes a tough catch in traffic. He is got very reliable hands and really does play bigger than his size would indicate.

I could do this all day. Again, this is a play the Patriots run with regularity and you can see that Berrios excels in these type of routes. His quickness and shiftiness in the open field will give DB’s trouble even at the NFL level.

Honestly, I feel like I am watching a Patriots game sometimes.


Final Thoughts:

Berrios to the Patriots was something that just had to happen. They have drafted smaller slot guys in the past, but Berrios is as close to a clone to past slot guys the Patriots have had than any other guy they have brought in. Before I pencil him in to the Patriots hall of fame however, I have to remember that he was a late 6th round pick and right now the Patriots Wide Receiver room is pretty crowded. In all honesty though, I think his ability to be an elite punt returner gives him a leg up on some of the guys currently on the roster. Training camp should be interesting to see who rises to the top and who gets cut from this very talented, but crowded group.



9 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Braxton Berrios, WR”

  1. Stephen J says:

    Apparently the Patriots also tried to trade up in the 1st for Frank Ragnow. 1st with the Lions but when they said no because that is who they were targeting the Pats tried to move in front of them but didn’t get any takers and ended up selecting Isaiah Wynn.

    In the Providence Journal it stated.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, the Patriots had Arkansas center Frank Ragnow as their top target. The Lions, coached by Matt Patricia, ended up drafting Ragnow at 20th overall in the first round, but before they made the pick, the Patriots reportedly tried to trade up with the Lions to grab the center.

    Then in the Detroit Free Press it stated

    Both the Cincinnati Bengals, who picked 21st, and the New England Patriots, who picked 23rd, had Ragnow as a top target, and the Patriots tried to move up in front of the Lions to get their man.

    While 247Sports reported

    New England tried to trade up in the draft on Thursday to draft Arkansas interior lineman Frank Ragnow. The Patriots’ attempt at Ragnow ultimately proved to not work out as Matt Patricia and the Lions took him at No. 20 overall, three selections before New England was on the clock.

    The Arkansas product is looked at as one of the safest picks from the first round being touted as a legit starter in the league at either center or either guard spot.

  2. brandon maxham says:

    I really like the Berrios pick because I really wanted the Patriots to draft him and they did .

    He has the chance to learn from Edelman and the other WRs and become the guy who takes over when Edelman does retire eventually.

  3. Michael says:

    That elite punt returner modifier would seem to be a large plus in this young man’s column.
    Having a couple of punt returns for six does a lot or swinging games. It’s also terrific to get some extra yardage on punt returns. It takes away from potential offensive yardage stats but Pats fans know that’s OK.

  4. Stephen J says:

    Patriots tried to trade into 3rd round of NFL draft

  5. steve earle says:

    If he stays healthy and on the field he has a chance to be what we hope. Good value pick probably best of the low rounders. Time will tell.

    • Jeff says:

      If he sticks and can contribute, that will work wonders for the Pats long-term outlook at receiver. If they can return Edelman, Berrios, Mitchell, and Slater next season, they can be well-stocked with great continuity by re-signing just one of the impending free agents (or taking an outside free agent) and bringing in a draft pick. If he doesn’t make it, the future at the position is a bit riskier with only Edelman and Mitchell being the only true WR under contract next season.

      • steve earle says:

        WE still have to worry about Mitchell staying healthy and Slater is just sp.teams. Why do you leave off Hogan and Dorsett?

  6. macspak says:

    or which get traded for future 6th or 7th round picks – Britt, Dorsett et al.

  7. kevinz says:

    Nice report Mike i like Braxton hope is the next good slot for Pats i will admit wanted Trey Quinn instead.

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