In Patriots lore, there will probably never be another draft success story like Julian Edelman. But let’s just start at the next starting slot receiver.
The answer could already be within the organization with third-year wideout Jakobi Meyers, who officially hired Drew Rosenhaus as his new agent on Monday. Meyers certainly isn’t the same type of receiver as Edelman, but he’s another converted quarterback who went undrafted in 2019. He played the most snaps on the team at receiver from Week 8 on in the 2020 season.
Despite Meyers’ presence as the potential slot option, his size could also enable him to play outside or move around the field as a “Z” type in the Patriots’ offense. And the Pats have found value before in relatively undersized receivers who pick up the offense, get separation with their short-area quickness, and move the sticks successfully.
Slot receivers have become more of a hot commodity in the NFL Draft in recent years, now that teams are even using their star receivers (like Tyreek Hill) inside. It’s a position the Patriots helped popularize with Tom Brady and receivers like Edelman, Wes Welker, and Danny Amendola. So their next leading slot guy may have to come from an early pick. They may not find the “next Edelman” in that they find a future team Hall of Famer in the seventh round, but they’re going to need to identify a long-term starter at that spot.
There are some talented options for the Patriots that are projected as late-first-round picks, with others expected to come off the board early on day 2. And you can’t rule out the Patriots unearthing another gem among the day 3 picks and undrafted rookies. So here’s a variety of slot receivers to know about ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins April 29.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.