What Can We Expect from Wide Receiver Torry Holt?

Over at WEEI.com, there has been discussion as to what the Patriots can truly expect from new wide receiver Torry Holt. I have already been willing to pencil Holt in as our #2, due to his experience, while allowing second year receiver Julian Edelman to take a true slot role as our #3. Am I thinking too highly of Holt? Or is he really capable of being a starter on our offense?

Holt is 33 years old. I'll open with that. He'll be 34 when the season begins. In comparison, Old Man Randy Moss is 33 as well. Tom Brady will be 33 on week 1 as well. Our ancient running back core is represented by Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris who will be be 34, 34 and 33 on opening day as well (fun fact: Kevin Faulk and Torry Holt were born on the same exact day! June 5th!). That means our offensive players will be old.

Now age isn't a problem if they still perform on the field and Holt has certainly been a solid player on the field for the entire decade- in fact, he's been the most consistent receiver of the decade. Last year, for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Holt was a #2 receiver and put up solid numbers (51 receptions, 722 yards). However, he put up zero touchdowns. Holt has gravitated from a true #1 receiver into a possession receiver who can move the chains. He uses his intelligence to gain separation from opposing cornerbacks and to catch the ball, but he won't be outrunning any cornerback. In fact, he finished 4th to last in the league in yards after the catch. That's a stark contrast from our YAC machines in Julian Edelman and Wes Welker.

Maybe it's a good change. Frequently, this past season, the Patriots were unable to move the chains due to the inability of receivers to break away from coverage- Edelman and Welker thrive on catching dump off passes and weaving through traffic. Perhaps Holt is a solid receiver that we need to keep moving the chains down the field.

Another fact to look at, when grading Holt, is how terrible the Jaguars' offense was. Quarterback David Garrard isn't going to be making any great passes. In a run first offense, Holt still put up extremely respectable numbers. Maybe on a pass-first offense, reminiscent of his St. Louis Rams days, Holt can start catching touchdowns and put up bigger numbers.

So what do I think?

Find out after the jump!

I think that Holt's intelligence outweighs his breakaway speed. I think that having Tom Brady throwing to him, instead of Garrard, will compensate for his age. I'm expecting a 40 catch, 500 yard, 4 TD year from Holt.

My depth chart predictions:

Week 1

1. Randy Moss

2. Torry Holt

3. Julian Edelman

4. Brandon Tate

5. Taylor Price

Why: I have Holt over Edelman on sheer experience. I have Tate over Price because he has an extra year in the system. I'm expecting Welker to be on the PUP list.

Week 4

1. Randy Moss

2a. Julian Edelman

2b. Torry Holt

4a. Brandon Tate

4b. Taylor Price

Why: I think that Edelman will have done a well enough job a quarter through the season that he will start to be Brady's safety blanket. Holt will still be producing at a steady pace. Price will have gained on Tate and they'll both see equal amounts of time in 4 receiver sets. Welker is still on the PUP.

Week 8

1. Randy Moss

2a. Julian Edelman

2b. Torry Holt

4. Wes Welker

5. Taylor Price

6. Brandon Tate

Why: I think that Welker will make his return. He won't be instantly thrown back on the field and will, instead, ease into the offense as our #4 receiver. Edelman and Holt will still split receptions. Price will pass Tate on the depth chart based on athletic ability.

Week 12

1. Randy Moss

2. Wes Welker

3a. Torry Holt

3b. Julian Edelman

3c. Taylor Price

6. Brandon Tate

Why: I think Welker will have recovered enough to start producing in his old position, which means that Edelman will have a reduced role. Because Edelman's skill set is sort of redundant because of Welker, I see Taylor Price stepping up and splitting receptions with Edelman. I see a trio of Holt, Edelman and Price all doing a great job in different ways- Edelman will spell for Welker, Holt will be a possession receiver and Price will be a deep threat. Tate will be a returnman on special teams.

Week 16

1. Randy Moss

2. Wes Welker

3. Taylor Price

4a. Torry Holt

4b. Julian Edelman

6. Brandon Tate

Why: I see Price passing Holt and Edelman in the depth chart. I don't see him rising at the other receivers' expense, but purely because he creates opportunities for himself. I see Edelman and Holt still producing as if they were #3 on the depth chart, but Price will just put up bigger numbers. Price will start making more yardage off passes that Holt was making earlier in the season.

 

Those are my season-long predictions! What do you think? Am I overestimating Holt's impact on our offense? What do you think of my "depth chart prediction?"

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