One of the aging players that New England needs to start preparing a succession plan for is wideout Julian Edelman.
At 33 year old, Edelman likely only has a couple more strong playing years left in him at best. The 2019 season was a tough one for him and showed that his days as a No. 1 wideout may be numbered. He dealt with severe shoulder, rib and knee injuries during the season, and that in part had to do with the large target share he mustered up during the first half of the regular season. That can't happen going forward if the Patriots want to keep him on the field. That's why acquiring his successor is a good idea this offseason.
Luckily for New England, that player is in this year's draft.
Among the historically deep wide receiver class is Ohio State receiver K.J. Hill. The 6-foot, 188-pound slot receiver can be described in one word: consistent. He caught at least 50 balls in all three seasons he played for the Buckeyes, and only dropped nine of 210 catchable passes during his collegiate career, per 247 sports. It's also worth noting that he had 386 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, which proves he is a versatile weapon.
To add to his skillset, it turns out that Hill ran very similar concepts to what the Patriots use at Ohio State, which is something he mentioned when talking about his meeting with New England at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I definitely met with the Patriots,” the 22-year-old wideout told Zack Cox of NESN. “It went well. Mainly, we were talking about plays. I did a lot of things similar (to) their offense, and they were just trying to pick my brain about what we did. And come to find out, it was mostly the same plays. Motioning, seeing if it was man or zone, using option routes. Definitely what (Julian Edelman) was doing. I was talking to the receivers coach about that.”
Projected to go on Day 2 or 3 of the draft, New England might have to trade up in order to get Hill. But it would be worth it. He could learn from one of the most prolific postseason wideouts of all-time, and could create a 1-2 punch out of the slot similar to what we saw from Edelman and Danny Amendola when they played together.
The need for a field stretcher, whether that he at wideout or tight end is a bigger priority for the Patriots' immediate success. But drafting Hill would be a great choice for their long-term plans.