At first thought, the casual fan wouldn’t think that wide receiver would be a position of need for the Patriots come this April’s draft. However, with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Greg Lewis as the only legitimate receiving options, wide receiver is certainly still a need.
And one player who could really make an impact whether at #23 or #34 for the Patriots is Florida wide receiver / running back / special teams player. He has already stated he has had discussions with the Patriots, as Bill Belichick has been a mentor to him through the Urban Meyer/Florida connection. So what does Harvin bring to the table?
First of all, Percy Harvin is very fast, running a 4.39 40 yard dash at the combine. He is strong (19 bench press reps at the combine, which ranked 5th among receivers), he works with an unbelievable motor; fighting to get every possible inch on every play. He works very well in space, is elusive, and can make defenders miss easily. He can make great plays out of the slot, but can also create plays with his foot speed on the outside. Runs very good routes in the passing game, and in the running game, carries the ball with good awareness.
Some analysts argue that Percy Harvin was just the benefactor of the system and the juggernaut team in Florida. They say his production was overhyped, and that the majority of his success came by the help of the very unconventional Florida offense. However, Harvin has had the injury bug over the last couple of years, but that doesn’t look to be too big a problem in the pros. Also, at 5-11, 193 pounds, he doesn’t have the big time height that a lot of scouts look at for an outside receiver.
The great thing about Harvin is that he can do it all on offense. The Patriots could use Harvin as a receiving back (maybe the future replacement for Kevin Faulk), who at times, can take a draw up the middle, or a pitch to the outside. The Patriots could also use Harvin for one on one match-ups on the outside, where he uses his straight-line speed to get open for Brady downfield. Harvin could also work out of the slot, catching passes on quick slants and dump-offs. One area where Harvin really hasn’t seen any work is special teams. But I think he possesses a rare combination of desire, speed, and strength, and could eventually make an impact both returning and covering kicks.
Patriots Draft Prospects: