Deebo Samuel, Julio Jones, T.Y. Hilton's Best Landing Spots After 2022 NFL DraftMay 1, 2022
The 2022 NFL draft has officially come to a close, and now teams can turn their attention to the free-agent market or potentially making a more significant trade.
And while wide receivers were a hot commodity in this year's draft, several teams could still use another non-rookie receiver to boost their offense in 2022, including the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers.
That said, two of the top wide receivers still on the market are Deebo Samuel, Julio Jones and T.Y. Hilton, and either player would fit in well with the teams previously mentioned.
Samuel, who requested a trade from the San Francisco 49ers before the draft, had a breakout 2021 season, catching 77 passes for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 59 carries for 365 yards and eight scores.
Jones spent the 2021 season with the Tennessee Titans, catching 31 passes for 434 yards and one touchdown in 10 games before being released. It was a decline from the 2020 season that saw him catch 51 passes for 771 yards and three scores in nine games for the Atlanta Falcons.
Hilton, meanwhile, is a free agent after spending the last 10 seasons with the Colts. While he's far from being in his prime, he caught 23 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns last season and would be a solid depth option for any contending team.
The Patriots should be in the market for any of these players after failing to draft a receiver until they selected the speedy Tyquan Thornton in the second round on Friday. New England acquired DeVante Parker in a trade with the Miami Dolphins this offseason, but it still lacks a significant threat out wide.
Beyond Parker, the Patriots have Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Ty Montgomery and N'Keal Harry. None of those players are true No. 1 receivers and, to be fair, neither is Hilton. So, New England's best bet would be to trade for Samuel. However, it's probably unlikely Bill Belichick gives up the assets needed to snag the talented wideout.
The 49ers already reportedly denied an offer from the New York Jets that contained the No. 10 pick in this year's draft. They also reportedly denied an offer from the Detroit Lions. That said, it's going to take a haul for someone to acquire Samuel.
The Packers, meanwhile, drafted Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in this year's draft, but neither player will make up for the loss of Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Green Bay's current top receivers are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins and Amari Rodgers. Adding either Samuel or Hilton to that group would be ideal for the franchise this offseason.
That said, it's hard to imagine the Niners trading Samuel to another NFC Super Bowl contender, which means Jones or Hilton is probably the more realistic option. However, it could end up being Aaron Rodgers' choice for which receiver the franchise potentially picks up.
Finally, the Colts need a No. 2 receiver alongside Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis drafted Alec Pierce, but Samuel, Jones or Hilton would be a better target for new quarterback Matt Ryan.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has left the door open for a Hilton return, so it's not crazy to believe he could continue his career with the team that drafted him in 2012.
“We’ll still have some talks with T.Y. (Hilton). I think you all know my feelings towards T.Y. Hilton. I think he can still play. I think he can still play productive football,” Ballard told reporters last week.
Samuel would be the better option for Indy as he would instantly become the team's best receiver and highlight a group that also includes Parris Campbell, Dezmon Patmon, Ashton Dulin, KeKe Coutee and Mike Strachan.
However, Jones is definitely an intriguing option because of how much time he spent catching passes from Ryan in Atlanta. The duo played together from 2011-20, and Jones spent much of his time as Ryan's top target.