Depth will be crucial for the New England Patriots receiving corp. With Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson locked in, there is only so many spaces available. Ex-Carolina Panther Brandon LaFell has the most experience of the contenders this vacant spot. Signing a three year, $9M contract this offseason, might just be that tipping point that helps Lafell make this team. Lafell also has a size advantage, his 6’-3”, 210 pounds, offers a large red zone target. A critical piece to the puzzle that Tom Brady could not find throughout most of last season. Lafell will likely be used as a wide receiver for the most part, complementing Aaron Dobson on the outside. While creating space for either the slot receiver or man in motion. I invision Lafell and Kenbrell Thompkins splitting time together, but as already mentioned, there are other ways that he could potentially contribute. Boston Globe writer, Ben Volin wrote an excellent article back in June. Suggesting Lafell might enter this offense in the “Hernandez” type role. Aaron Hernandez was a receiving tight end that could move around in formation and has shown great athleticism. Why not give Lafell a shot? Hernandez was an inch shorter and Lafell is lighter. With the Patriots so weak at the tight end position, it would be a no brainer to give this a try at training camp. The Patriots don’t need Lafell to block. They have Michael Hoomanawanui, who has done a great job on the outside. However they do not have the big bodied red zone target. Someone to run on the flat, close to the goal line. Rob Gronkowski provides this, but it would be nice to have a backup plan this season. Just incase history repeats itself. Don’t put a square peg in a round hole. Use Lafell sparingly as a tight end. Create confusion for the defense. Hell, throw him in the backfield now and again, remember how that used to work out with Hernandez? One negative for the new Patriot, learning the playbook and nuances for the offense. Lafell was not ashamed to admit things have been difficult and different compared to Carolina. Tom Brady has been known to expect excellence. Over the last few seasons there have been several changes at the wide receiver position. Chad Johnson and Brandon Lloyd are just two recent examples of players with former success, not being able to learn the Patriots playbook. Words Lafell echoed while asked about his new quarterback last month: "Everything I heard (about Brady) is dead on," LaFell said. "He demands the best out of everybody. He's going to give you his best every day. If things aren't going right he's not going to sugarcoat it. He's going to let you know about it." During next week's training camp, we will all see if Brandon Lafell has studied enough to make an impact in 2014.
Did you miss the latest edition of CLNSRadio Patriots Beat podcast? Jeff Kane & Robert L. Snowdon talk football with their guest, former Patriot linebacker and 3 time Super Bowl winner Matt Chatham. Be sure to have a listen! Click below, you will not be disappointed.