2012 NFL Draft: Should the New England Patriots Take a Look at Alshon Jeffery?

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2012 NFL Draft: Should the New England Patriots Take a Look at Alshon Jeffery?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL offseason has been a pretty busy one for the New England Patriots, especially at the wide receiver position.

Most notably, the Patriots added wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth, re-signed Deion Branch and Matthew Slater, and placed their franchise tag on Wes Welker

Bill Belichick and the Patriots have certainly added depth to this position and filled the need of a play-making, deep threat in Lloyd, but they could still be missing one thing: a wide receiver that is a red-zone target. 

Granted, the Patriots may have two of the NFL's elite tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but they're lacking a physical wide receiver that can go up and snag the ball out of the air—a guy like South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery. 

If  Jeffery is available later in the first round for the Patriots, should they consider drafting him? 

 

Strengths

Jeffery has elite size and strength for the wide receiver position as he stands in at 6'3" and presents a huge target for quarterbacks in the red zone. 

Jeffery doesn't have the greatest speed, but he accelerates quickly at the snap of the ball and can beat opposing cornerbacks with his quick first step. 

As for hands, Jeffery made some of the most freakish receptions last season with South Carolina and certainly has quite the highlight reel. 

When the ball is in Jeffery's hands, he is tough to bring down as he's almost built like a tight end. He can certainly be a possession receiver, but ultimately be a great yards-after-the-catch kind of guy. 

 

Weaknesses

We all know Jeffery is a major question mark heading into the 2012 Draft.

Some have questions about Jeffery's weight and speed, but I just take a look at game film and soon realize that he's a talented player, and you can't deny talent. 

In my opinion, Jeffery's biggest weaknesses is his route running—he needs to sharpen his routes and that is certainly coachable. 

 

Conclusion

Should the New England Patriots draft Alshon Jeffery in the first round?

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Jeffery may have a few question marks surrounding his weight and work ethic, but I have no problem with what we see on film—the guy is a very talented wide receiver. 

Jeffery could be an asset in New England's offense, but taking him with either their No. 27 or No. 31 pick may be a bit of a risk.

New England has so many holes on the defensive side of the ball that it would be rather silly to waste a first-round pick on Jeffery. However, you could argue that they can afford to do so since they have two first-round picks and Jeffery has a pretty high ceiling of development. 

When it's all said and done, I really like Jeffery as a prospect, but he simply isn't a first-round pick in my opinion. 

 

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Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog: PatriotsPlus.

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