The New England Patriots have been the model of consistency for the NFL, as they have made the playoffs seven straight seasons and have played in the AFC Championship game for five straight years. This offseason, the team has some major decisions to make since they need to fill holes on the offensive line and at the cornerback, wide receiver and running back positions, according to NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein.
The Patriots know keeping franchise quarterback Tom Brady upright is key to their success, and could look to target a potential offensive lineman with their second-round draft pick. While their offensive line needs help, they could also look to bolster their receiving position and acquire an instant playmaker for Brady and their offense.
One player Patriots fans should keep an eye on is Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller. The Fighting Irish receiver is expected to be one of the fastest receivers in the year's draft class, and some have projected him to post the fastest 40-yard time at the NFL Combine. Fuller - who is listed at 6 feet, 184 pounds - isn't one of the biggest receivers in the 2016 draft class. While he will likely need to put on some muscle at the next level, there is no denying his ability to get behind the backend of defenses.
Fuller had just over 27 percent of his receptions go for more than 25 yards in his junior season, and has drawn comparisons with Panthers wide receiver Tedd Ginn Jr. Fuller would have an instant impact in New England, and could give the Patriots that speed receiver that could take the top off a secondary.
New England has two major decisions with receivers on their roster this offseason, as Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell are both under contract but create a significant cap hit in 2016. With LaFell's cap hit at $3.5 million and Amendola's at $6.8 million, it's possible New England could look to move on from both this offseason.
The Patriots have arguably two of the best weapons in the NFL in wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski, and there is no question that Fuller could help elevate the offense to another level if drafted. It's unclear if Fuller will still be on the board by the 60th pick in the draft, but if he is, don't be surprised if the Patriots look to add the speedy receiver.