In the afterglow of a Super Bowl win, we lose sight of imperfections on the path to glory, imperfections that need to be addressed to have a chance to win back-to-back. In 2014, the Patriots had a good passing game, not great, like they have come to expect. One area the Patriots are focused on is adding athleticism at wide receiver; it opens up the offense and allows Brady to make throws he can't to smaller guys.
Brandon LaFell was excellent this past season, and if they could mirror that approach on both sides, the middle of the field is going to be wide open. Defenses will be forced to pick their poison, but they'll never be able to stop everyone. There are many receivers in the upcoming draft that the Patriots like, but Kevin White of West Virginia fits the exact type of wide receiver New England has been looking for.
When Kevin White graduated from high school, he played two years at Lackawanna Community College (JUCO) before making his way to West Virginia. The talent, size and ability were all there but White needed to get himself together mentally. White had offers from multiple D-1 programs, including Texas Tech, UMASS, and Hawaii. Ultimately White chose West Virginia because of their style of offense. White is physically imposing, so West Virginia expected White to come in and have success right away.
In 2013, White did not live up to the teams or his expectations. White played in 11 games, picking up 35 receptions for 507 yards and five touchdowns. They weren't terrible stats, especially for a player who was just getting his feet wet in D-1 after playing for a small community college, but White knew he could be significantly better. White admitted that he had to get himself up to speed in the playbook, then learn what everyone else was doing to truly succeed. In '13, he learned his responsibilities, and in '14, he learned it all, and that was pretty obvious.
Kevin White went into his senior season with the utmost confidence, and it showed on the field. White started 13 games in 2014 and finished with 109 receptions for 1,447 yards and ten touchdowns. White tripled his receptions/yardage and doubled his touchdowns. Like he said, once he knew what EVERYONE was doing within the offense, it simplified things for him and he exploded. At times in 2014, he really did make it look easy. White did excellent at the Draft Combine too, putting up 23 reps in the benchpress and turning in an unofficial 4.35 in the forty today.
The Patriots need either Aaron Dobson to wake up or find someone else who can make plays out of the Z-receiver position. Kevin White appears to be the best option in this draft, but his stock is getting so high that he most likely won't be on the board at 32. The Patriots have the currency to trade up to at least the number 15 pick, but they have never traded up in the first round to draft a wide receiver, so it would be out of the ordinary. If White were to fall to New England, they would most likely take him simply due to his value and draft grade, but chances are he'll be off the board in the first 12 picks.