I'm sad. The Patriots have cut wide receiver Taylor Price. I've had a fan-crush on Price since the Patriots spent the 90th overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft on the speedster from Ohio University. I had extremely high hopes for the receiver, but, unfortunately, injuries and a lack of performance have derailed his career in New England.
When Bill Belichick held a press conference after the draft, he explained why he picked Price. Price came from a run-first offense where he didn't post spectacular numbers- but he had the physical potential to be a gamer. Belichick stated that college production is predicated upon the offensive system, the quarterback's skill, and the ability of the receiver. Since Price came from a run-first offense with a weak quarterback, Belichick was banking upon the ability of Price- and stated that he didn't want to draft a receiver based upon his college production.
Unfortunately, Price has not worked out in Boston. He missed a portion of training camp last season due to a late graduation date. He basically spent his rookie season as a Red Shirt and didn't see the field until the final game of the season. He couldn't see the field this season either as a persistent hamstring injury pushed him further down the depth chart.
This move presents questions to the Patriots and their ability to draft and develop receiving talent. Since Deion Branch and David Givens were drafted in 2002, Patriots six drafted receivers have combined for 14 seasons, 71 receptions, 1121 yards, and 10 receiving touchdowns. That's bad, especially when you consider that Chad Jackson was drafted instead of Greg Jennings, Brandon Tate was drafted right before Mike Wallace, and Taylor Price was drafted around Eric Decker. That's not to say that those players would have seen the same success in New England as they have with their current teams- but it shows that there is talent available when the Patriots have missed on receiver picks.
Prior to this season's draft, I made the following comment:
The main problem with the Patriots drafting wide receivers is that they go for wide receivers without route running experience. It’s extremely bizarre. In a system where route running and being on the same page as the quarterback is the most important role as a receiver, the draft guys continue to pick guys who are extremely raw route runners. Taylor Price, Brandon Tate, Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson. All guys with little route running expertise entering the draft. Maybe Tate and Price will work out, but they’re far from certain.If the Patriots take a first round wide receiver, he had better be a phenomenal route runner.
With the decline of Deion Branch and the disappearance of Chad Ochocinco, the Patriots could definitely be in position to spend an early draft pick on a top receiver talent in the upcoming NFL draft. If that's the case, they had better not draft another athlete without route running experience.
It's sad to see Taylor Price leave New England. Hopefully he can find success with another team- preferably not in the AFC.