Should the New England Patriots Sign Titus Young?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IFebruary 5, 2013

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28:  Titus Young #16 reacts to a late fourth quarter call during the game against the Seattle Seahwaks at Ford Field on October 28, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Seahwaks 28-24.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Titus Young: Physical talent meets problem child. 

New England Patriots: Always willing to take a chance on a problem child if the physical talent can help the team.

Same story, different characters.

Young has been waived (as announced by the Detroit Lions) as a result of his childish antics, including tweets demanding a larger role in the offense, tweets demanding a release from his team and altercations with the coaching staff.

We've seen the Patriots target troubled players before, with the likes of running back Corey Dillon, linebacker Bryan Cox, wide receivers Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and most recently, cornerback Aqib Talib.

Young could be the next on that list, but he shouldn't be, and the reasons why are clear.

First, a semantic issue: The Patriots (and probably 31 other NFL teams) will most likely not put a claim in for Young. They will wait for him to clear waivers, and then move in on him if he's still available and if they're interested.

Bleacher Report NFC North lead writer Andrew Garda told me Young's untapped potential could make him worth the risk:

Titus Young is a quick receiver with good hands, who can be dangerous after the catch. It's hard to gauge exactly what he can do, given Matt Stafford's propensity to throw 90 percent of his passes Calvin Johnson's way, as well as a significant amount of injuries. Young would be a useful addition to Brady's arsenal, but he might duplicate what Julian Edelman can already do—and we don't even know if it will be at a higher level.

If the Patriots can get Young to focus—and it seems like a big "if" at this point—Young has tremendous untapped potential. It remains to be seen if he can reach it, though—but I imagine for the price he'd would cost and a minimal-length contract, it's absolutely worth the risk. And if there's anyone who can get a lot out of Young, it's Bill Belichick.

Young has the speed the Patriots lack at wide receiver, having run a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the 2011 combine, but Garda points to Young's ability to contribute with yards after the catch.

The Patriots may be looking to replace some of that element if Wes Welker departs, but Young's speed hasn't always translated to success in the deep passing game, where the Patriots have struggled in their playoff losses of late.

Over the past two years, Young has been targeted 28 times on passes 20 yards or downfield. He has caught nine of those passes, four of which have gone for touchdowns, but he has also dropped six such passes, dropping 40 percent of catchable deep balls in his direction.

At 5'11" and 174 pounds, he's not going to solve the Patriots biggest problem: a lack of physicality at wide receiver. The Patriots haven't had a receiver who could consistently get off a jam and win physical battles on the outside for years. 

 The Patriots need to get away from the small-ball style of offense, not dig themselves further into the hole. 

Thus, while the risk may be low—and history indicates the risk probably wouldn't be a factor—the potential reward may not be high enough, nor his addition to the offense significant enough, to warrant the move.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.