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2015 Patriots Draft Rumor: WR Nelson Agholor a First Round Target

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When there's smoke, perhaps it makes sense to check if there's fire.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, we mentioned that the Patriots could be interested in trading down at 32nd overall if they didn't see a top tier prospect still on the board. There are many signs pointing towards one player that could be that prospect worth taking at 32nd.

USC WR Nelson Agholor is a name that keeps cropping up as a link to New England. (Full disclosure: Girlfriend Belichick knows Agholor personally).

The 6'0, 200 lbs receiver flashes 4.4 speed, a 10'5 broad jump, and a 6.8 three cone, all of which show up on tape as speed in the open field, explosion out of his steps, and quickness on his route breaks. He was a running back in high school who was recruited as an athlete to USC, before stepping in as a key receiver as a freshman. He follows Robert Woods and Marquise Lee as top 40 prospects out of Southern California.

Agholor can play inside and outside, he can attack defenses at any level of the field, he's a menace after the catch, and he adds value as a top tier special teams returnman. He's a versatile player that could have a potential Randall Cobb-like impact on an offense.

If he were to play on the Patriots, he would immediately challenge Danny Amendola for starting snaps at slot receiver, and would also provide insurance for both Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell. New England was lucky with their health at starting wide receiver in 2014, and they would be unwise to hope for the same moving forward.

The only issue is that the Philadelphia Eagles, at 20th overall, are extremely high on his abilities as a prospect.

But if Agholor falls? Look for the Patriots to be interested.

6. I think the Patriots are in a great spot at 32. So many teams high in the second round want to move up, and the Patriots don’t have to take anyone here. If they could get the 2016 first-round pick of a current bad team, I’d do that deal in a second…

7. … I think there’s one exception. New England likes USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor. If I were Bill Belichick, I wouldn’t be getting cute late in the first round, particularly with three picks between 96 and 101. I’d take the guy I’d like. Even if I could get an attractive first-round picks next year for the 32nd pick, I’d still take a receiver like Agholor now if I could. (But I do think he’ll be gone before 32.)

-Peter King, MMQB

3. One of the interesting Patriots NFL draft storylines for me is how early the team would consider selecting a wide receiver, in part because this is considered another deep, talented class. If Southern Cal receiver Nelson Agholor is available at No. 32, for example, I think that could be enticing to the club, depending on who else might be available. That’s one scenario I’ve played out in mock drafts that wouldn’t shock me, even though I don't view receiver as a great need when stacked up against guard, defensive tackle, off-the-line linebacker and cornerback. The thinking with a pick like Agholor is that because this is such a solid receiver class, a player with his skills and upside might normally be off the board earlier than 32, but he could get pushed down because of the glut of top-flight pass-catchers.

- Mike Reiss, ESPN

These are two well-connected writers voicing their connection of Agholor to the Patriots. There's smoke here. If Agholor falls past the Eagles, it will be fun to see if there was ever any fire.