14 Days to the Draft: LSU WR, Brandon LaFell

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

The Patriots are in great need of wide receiver depth. LSU's Brandon LaFell is a big receiver at 6-3, 211 lbs, with #1 receiver potential. He drops some balls and doesn't have burner speed, which makes him a sort of Braylon Edwards player. He can block, he can reach for bad throws and has the strength to fight for potential interceptions. He's unpolished, but has the most potential out the second round receivers. His ceiling is the highest, but his floor is lower than Damian Williams in my opinion. With Randy Moss only having 3-4 more years left, LaFell has the chance to sit behind him for a year to learn the game and, should we extend Moss, step up and fight Moss for starting time.

 

His measurements and some quotes after the jump.

WalterFootball.com Scouting

Height: 6-3. Weight: 211.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Combine 40 Time: 4.59.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.54.

Summary: LaFell projects as a very big, physical possession receiver with the potential to profile as a No. 1 in time. He needs to work on his route running, but overall he’s a very well-rounded player whom I think will be a better red-zone target in the pros than in college due to poor quarterback play at LSU. LaFell will go off the board in the top 35-40 picks.

CBSSports.com Scouting

03/16/2010 - Former LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell failed to impress many observers with his time in the 40-yard dash at the combine, as he ran a time of 4.60 seconds. LaFell said he strained his hamstring, which inhibited him from exerting all his effort Monday. "I didn't better my [40-yard dash] time a whole lot today, but I wanted to show the coaches I could push through," said LaFell, who completed the drill in 4.57 seconds. "I pushed through and ran all my routes. You're going to be banged up at the end of the season and not have that extra step, so it goes back to the fundamentals of technique." - Rachel Whittaker, LSU The Reveille

NFL.com Scouting

LaFell is a big receiver that has a huge upside but still needs to refine his game if he wants to excel at the next level. He has adequate speed for the position but with his size and stride length he can sneak up on and run by a lot of defenders. He has soft, natural hands but will drop some balls due to lapses of concentration. He is competitive to the ball over the middle and in traffic and can use his size and leaping ability to high point the ball over the top of defenders. While he will initially have a bigger impact with the short passing game against zone coverage he has enough going for him to eventually become an effective downfield target.

Strengths

LaFell has the height and build of a starting NFL wide receiver. Has been a productive player. Has soft hands and flashes the ability to catch the ball away from his body. Is an athletic receiver. Exhibits the willingness to catch the ball in traffic over the middle. Is a competitive performer who is tough to take down after the catch and will go up and fight for the jump ball.
Weaknesses
LaFell possesses good top end speed but isn’t a true burner to consistently get deep at the next level. Suffers from lapses of concentration which lead to drops. Is not precise route-runner, is susceptible to press-coverage, and occasionally struggles to gain separation.

Verdict: While LaFell has a high ceiling, I still think that Williams is a safer pick. There are numerous wide receivers next year who are much greater than any of the receivers in this draft, which means that I think we should grab the safe pick this year instead of the bigger risk and grab a top receiver next year.

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