Hannable: In order to compete with Chiefs and Ravens, Patriots need to add playmaker at wide receiver


It isn’t exactly breaking news, but following a week of the NFL season, it’s become even more apparent the Patriots need to add a playmaking wide receiver.

Yes, the Patriots offense totaled 357 yards in their 21-11 win over the Dolphins, but 217 of them came on the ground, including 75 from Cam Newton. Newton only attempted 19 passes, the fewest by a Patriots quarterback in a full game since 2016 when Jacoby Brissett attempted 19 vs. Houston. Furthermore, the 19 were the second-fewest in the Bill Belichick era.

This isn’t going to be able to happen all year.

It is 2020 and NFL teams have to throw the ball. When the Patriots attempted passes Sunday, only two receivers were targeted — N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman. Despite playing 56-of-64 offensive snaps, Damiere Byrd did not get a single ball thrown his way.

Also, Edelman is 34 years old. It seems apparent the team is making a concerted effort to manage his reps to make sure he’s as healthy as possible for the entire season, as he played just 37 snaps in Week 1. It’s a lot to ask for him to carry the wide receiver position for yet another year.

And then looking at the top teams in the AFC — the Chiefs and Ravens — points are going to be needed to beat them. Kansas City didn’t put forth its best effort, but still managed to score 34 points against Houston, and then Baltimore scored 38 against Cleveland.

For the Patriots to have any chance against these teams, they are going to need to score points and relying on Newton and the run game is not going to do it. A playmaking wide receiver is needed.

Fortunately, the season is only a week old and the potential is there to add a receiver via trade right up until the trade deadline. After all, just look at last year when Mohamed Sanu was added the week before the deadline. These things do happen.

Two big-name receivers have already been mentioned when it comes to potential trades this week — Allen Robinson in Chicago and Odell Beckham Jr. in Cleveland.

Robinson apparently has made at least some peace with the Bears, but Beckham seems to have been involved in trade rumors for the last year-plus. Even if it isn’t one of these two, the Patriots should be actively monitoring the wide receiver trade market, and they shouldn’t be afraid to give up signifiant draft capital in order to acquire one.

The Patriots do have other wide receivers on the roster — Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski — but it’s hard to envision these second-year players making real big impacts. Harry has shown some signs of being able to have a bounce-back season, but there are consistency concerns.

There were thoughts that rookie tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene could help the passing game, but both players were not very involved in the gameplan against the Dolphins. That could be a a sign of what’s to come.

Tom Brady may have been good enough to overcome a lack of talent at the position and still make plays in the passing game, but Newton isn’t that good of a passing quarterback. He needs help.

While it’s only one week into the season, this has been a reoccurring issue the last several years at the position — it’s not an overreaction.

If the Patriots truly believe they can make a deep run in 2020, they need to get aggressive and add a playmaking wide receiver.

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