Brandon Tate: Another Chad Jackson Project?

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 23, 2009

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Brandon Tate #87 of the North Carolina Tar Heels runs the ball against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Stadium on September 11, 2008 in Piscataway, New Jersey. North Carolina defeated Rutgers 44-12.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Remember the University of Florida standout wide receiver Chad Jackson? A player that the Patriots moved up 16 spots in the 2006 draft by a trade with the Green Bay Packers in order to draft?

Then what happened from there? He couldn't run routes, he couldn't catch the ball consistently, and more importantly, he just couldn't stay healthy. He possesses so much talent, but unfortunately, in the New England's complex offense, he just couldn't survive.

In the 2009 NFL Draft, New England selected a wide receiver by the name of Brandon Tate. He was a very speedy, shifty, and versatile receiver out of the University of North Carolina.

Tate had a very successful stint at UNC. He stayed a full four years and in his last two seasons there he received Honorable-Mention All-ACC. Tate is probably most well known for his explosive speed, (a 4.3 40 yard dash), and his ability to make plays happen off of a kick or punt return.

Tate is the NCAA career leader for accumulated kick return yards with 3,523. He is also the all-time ACC leader in kick return yards (2,688) and kick returns (109). While at UNC, he was also a go-to receiver by the Tar Heel quarterbacks, and he used his blazing speed to break away into the open quite frequently. 

Tate is probably the most talented and most physically equipped receiver drafted by New England since Chad Jackson in '06. But we all know what happened to Jackson, who now plays for former Patriots' Offensive Coordinator, Josh McDaniels, in Denver.

I believe that Tate has just about as much talent and abilities as Jackson, and he does edge him out in the football IQ area. So hopefully Tate can find himself a nice role in the complex Patriots' offense in the next for years. But for now, expect Tate to be a Patriots' return man, and hopefully he can break some loose for a couple touchdowns this year.