Summer Sleeper: Brandon Tate

Ken KellyContributor IIIJune 17, 2010

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)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In the latest installment of our Summer Sleeper series, we take a look at Brandon Tate of the New England Patriots.  Many dynasty leaguers may have forgotten about Tate since his significant run of bad news and bad luck. However, things seem to be poised to quickly chnage for the better.

If you’re in a start-up dynasty league, see Tate on your waiver wire, or have a Tate owner asleep at the wheel in your league, this article is for you.  Let’s take a closer look at the latest Summer Sleeper .

Brandon Tate was one of the most dynamic return men and overall WRs in all of college football a few years ago.  He was explosive, elusive, and a surefire first round pick in the NFL Draft.  Unfortunately, a devastating knee injury in 2008 while playing at North Carolina made teams pause about investing in him.

When you really look back at his college film, it’s obvious this kid is a beast.  He’s one of the best returners in NCAA history and was averaging an unreal 23.5 ypc before his injury. 

In fact, Hakeem Nicks was clearly the second best WR on that team prior to Tate’s injury. That’s saying something.

Just as Tate began to make strides towards regaining his value, a positive drug test at the NFL Combine further clouded his future.  There were justified rumblings about character issues, and many teams removed him from their draft boards altogether.

There was, however, a silver lining waiting for Tate.  In fact, it was the silver and blue of the New England Patriots, who took him in the third round of last year’s draft.  Tate endured a few more setbacks with his knee and essentially redshirted last year, amassing just one carry for 11 yards, but he landed in a great spot for dynasty value.

This offseason has finally brought some good news to Tate owners.  He seems to be close to 100 percent healthy, and it’s translating quickly to the field.  Tom Brady has been quoted several times this offseason with glowing reviews of Tate’s camp performance.  The Boston Herald has echoed those sentiments, and many believe Tate could end up starting opposite Randy Moss this season if he continues to progress.

It seems he’s already moving up the depth chart, and it’s only June.  Brady appears to have created a natural connection with him, and the Patriots are not exactly stable at the WR position long-term, either.  Randy Moss could bolt at the end of the year, and they don’t have a dominant No. 1 threat to keep defenders off Wes Welker without him.

Brandon Tate should be a guy you’re looking to get your hands on, if at all possible. It certainly looks as though he’ll get a chance to show his talent as early as this season.

With all sleepers, it’s possible they completely bust, but I’d rather take a shot at Tate and hope I get the next preseason darling…before the preseason starts. If you’re looking for a Summer Sleeper, Brandon Tate should be right at the top of your list.