NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson racked up 5,630 receiving yards in 11 NFL seasons, including 1,006 in 2004 with Minnesota.
In short, he knows wide receivers.
So Patriots fans can rest assured that at least one expert on the position has only positive things to say about New England’s two free-agent wide receivers -- Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
In a piece on NFL.com, Burleson projected Agholor to catch 50 balls for 700 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021.
“If Agholor proved anything during his one-year stint in Las Vegas, it's that he can be a reliable No. 2 receiver. There's still hesitation around him being a No. 1, but he doesn't need to be in New England. That's why I love this fit. I don't believe any pass catcher signed by the Pats this offseason will be expected to lead the league in any statistical category, especially given Cam Newton’s inconsistency.
"Agholor will benefit from being part of a balanced group of pass catchers, even though there are a lot of other mouths to feed (including Kendrick Bourne, Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith).”
As for the aforementioned Bourne, Burleson writes:
“Bourne is coming off his best statistical season, but I still think there's a lot of untapped potential in his game. Along with excelling as a catch-and-run threat, the fifth-year pro could have plenty of splash plays if Newton can accurately and consistently push the ball downfield. Regardless of how Bourne ends up being used in Josh McDaniels' offense, the first-year Patriot should cement himself as a mainstay in the passing attack throughout the 2021 campaign.”
And Burleson’s projected production from Bourne? How about 45 catches, 550 yards and five touchdowns?
If the Pats’ two new receivers make Burleson look prophetic, the Pats will probably be playoff bound.