The New England Patriots receiving corps was one of the worst in the NFL during the 2019 season. The group ranked dead last in average separation per route, and the experts at Pro Football Focus don’t see a brighter future on the horizon. According to the advanced analytics website, the Patriots have the third-worst receiving corps in the league, ahead of just the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Redskins.
PFF: New England Patriots Receiving Corps Ranked Third-Worst in NFL
PFF’s biggest problem with New England’s receiving corps is their inability to get open downfield. According to the site, Julian Edelman is “one of the more reliable slot options in the short and intermediate range”, but the rest of the depth chart leaves a lot to be desired. PFF specifically calls out Mohamed Sanu and N’Keal Harry for having disappointing seasons in New England. Additionally, PFF expects rookie tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene to see plenty of playing time as rookies, but doesn’t think either guy can “really solve the issue” as a rookie.
It’s hard to argue against PFF’s reasoning for the low ranking. Julian Edelman is a good receiver that can still make a difference in the short and intermediate areas when healthy. However, he’s entering his age-34 season and can’t have too much left in his tank. Mohamed Sanu suffered an injury shortly after joining the Patriots and should have a better season in 2020. However, he’s been in the NFL for quite some time and has never managed to be anything more than a league-average receiver.
The future of New England’s receiving corps ultimately comes down to N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers. Both players suffered plenty of growing pains as rookies but flashed the promise of what they could do at the next level. Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are both intriguing projects, but tight ends historically need a season or two before they’re ready to make noteworthy contributions.
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