By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
If the Patriots aren't going to draft a wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft, they're at least doing their homework on some of the top prospects.
A new report from Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network should intrigue those who hope the Patriots restock the offense. He says the Patriots are hosting South Carolina WR Tyshun "Deebo" Samuel for a top-30 visit, in addition to the previously reported A.J. Brown of Ole Miss. Additionally, Pelissero confirmed a report from SiriusXM NFL host Alex Marvez that the Pats are also hosting Iowa tight end Noah Fant.
Samuel is an intriguing name for the Patriots for a number of reasons. One, he's realistic. He's projected as a day 2 selection and the Patriots are armed with two second-round picks and three third-rounders.
Second, Samuel has traits that make him a Patriots type of receiver. He's lauded for his competitiveness and fearlessness to fight for contested catches, and has earned high marks for his elusiveness after the catch. He's versatile, too. He can play inside or outside and could slide in as the Patriots' kick returner if they draft him.
According to multiple scouting reports, Samuel lacks top-end speed and doesn't have the biggest catch radius. And he could also use some polish on his route-running. So those knocks are dropping him to more of a second-round pick than an elite prospect. But he obviously has enough qualities to interest the Patriots enough to meet him for a private visit. Samuel ranks among their best fits at receiver in the 2019 class.
Top-30 visits aren't the most accurate and some of those prospects will be drafted before the Patriots could get them. But they are still worth your attention. The Patriots hosted cornerback Duke Dawson for a top-30 visit last year, and ended up taking him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. So the presence of Samuel in Foxboro could be a bit of foreshadowing.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].