Patriots Receivers: Hands Like Feet?

According to a ProFootballFocus.com article, the Patriots receivers were pretty average at catching the ball. Despite Wes Welker's herculean performance this season,only two Patriots receivers ranked in the top 25% of all receivers in the NFL with a catch rate. Two ranked in the bottom 25%. Two ranked in the high middle 25%. You may be surprised at who ranked where.

For a receiver to qualify for the regular rankings, they must have at least 30 catchable balls. Only three Patriot receivers qualified. Overall, there were 7 Patriot wide receivers used this season, but Brandon Tate was thrown two uncatchable passes.

Ranks and analysis after the jump.

Overall Rank Name Team Catches Drops Catchable Drop % Rank
23  Wes Welker NE 123 6 129 4.651 22
24  Sam Aiken NE 20 1 21 4.762
51  Julian Edelman NE 37 3 40 7.5 45
64  Randy Moss NE 83 8 91 8.791 55
127  Joey Galloway NE 7 2 9 22.22
130  Isaiah Stanback NE 3 1 4 25

 

This shows Welker and (surprise!) Aiken as the two most sure handed receivers on the team. Of course, most of the throws in Aiken's direction were overthrown due to his getting jammed at the line and not have timing with Brady. A lot of passes to Aiken were uncatchable due to his lack of receiver athleticism and rapport with Brady.

Edelman and Moss were in the next tier, which means that they're slightly above average. Not phenomenal, but not bad. They get the job done and they should get the job done again next year.

Bringing up the rear were Joey Galloway and Isaiah Stanback who, unsurprisingly, were phased out of the receiving game or the team itself.

With Aiken not being a true wide receiver, and with Welker injured, it seems that Edelman and Moss are the only two receivers on the team with any relation with Tom Brady. They were merely above average- not great. We need great receivers in order to best utilize Brady's skills for the rest of his career and it seems that during Brady's first season back from an injury the receivers were merely good.

So how do we best go about maximizing Brady's potential for the rest of his career? Do we pick up a top receiver in this upcoming draft? Or do we get a middle of the road receiver and get the top receiver next year?

I say that we pick up some potential depth receivers in this draft that are available in the 6th and 7th rounds who could work with Brady. He needs targets, but with our other needs, receivers will go on the back shelf. So if we pick up two receivers in the last two rounds, maybe one will work out and emerge as a #3 or #4 receiver and that would be as good as we could hope for this upcoming season. Next years draft has much greater receiver depth that should be available with our second 1st round pick. Selecting a future #1 next year will be good to substitute for the potential departure or decline of Randy Moss.

How do you think we should address our receiver issues?

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