The New England Patriots have found their quarterback of the future in last year’s draft, now it is about providing him with the best possible supporting cast. One are the team will have to address is its wide receiver position: while Jakobi Meyers is expected to return as a restricted free agent, and both Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor remain under contract, the group would benefit from an upgrade.
The cheapest way to find some is in the draft, and there should be plenty of suitable options available when New England is on the clock at No. 21 overall. One of them is Alabama’s Jameson Williams, the team’s selection in the first mock draft published by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr:
21. New England Patriots
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
The Patriots had a solid 2021 draft, with quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore turning into early starters and Day 3 pick Rhamondre Stevenson showing value in a running back rotation. What stuck out to me as I watched the Patriots, though, was their lack of playmakers in the passing game. Their top two receivers were former undrafted free agents (Jacobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne), and their tight ends didn’t beat defenders after the catch (when they got open). N’Keal Henry hasn’t developed like they had hoped. If they can get a deep threat for Jones here, they should be thrilled.
Williams, an Ohio State transfer with blazing speed, had a fantastic season for the Crimson Tide, catching 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. He would likely be in the top-10 range if he didn’t tear his ACL in the national title game, which means he might not be ready for training camp. Still, I don’t think he’s going to fall too far, because he’s a true No. 1 wideout when he’s healthy. This is good value for New England.
Williams’ torn ACL is an issue and might drop his draft stock a bit. The Patriots, however, have never been afraid of investing in players coming off injury: if the medicals check out, he could very well be on New England’s radar.
And if that is the case, the team would add a high-upside weapon to groom alongside Mac Jones. Maybe the Jones/Williams pairing will not turn into the next Joe Burrow/Ja’Marr Chase, but it certainly has plenty of potential.