The ‘sleeper' WR prospect for Patriots fans to watch at Senior Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots have the opportunity to land their future franchise quarterback with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But their work won't stop there.
The Patriots need reinforcements at several offensive positions outside quarterback, most notably offensive tackle and wide receiver. Fortunately for New England, this is a deep receiver draft, with three wideouts -- Ohio State's Marvin Harrison Jr., Washington's Rome Odunze and LSU's Malik Nabers -- projected as top-10 picks and several others who could go within the first two rounds.
That means the Patriots could be inspired to use their second-round pick (No. 34 overall) on a receiver to pair with their rookie QB.
And if you ask ESPN draft expert Jordan Reid, who joined our Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast, South Carolina's Xavier Legette is an under-the-radar name worth watching at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., next Saturday.
"I think he's going to be one of the more higher-rated receivers at the Senior Bowl," Reid said of Legette, who racked up 1,255 yards and seven touchdowns on 71 catches for the Gamecocks last season. "... He was a late bloomer. He didn't come on until his final year at South Carolina, and that's because he had some dudes in front of him -- Deebo Samuel of course is one."
As Reid explained, Legette was a high school quarterback who worked mostly on special teams at South Carolina before getting a chance to start at receiver in 2023. What followed was a breakout campaign that included several highlight-reel touchdowns and led Reid to compare Legette to Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Brown.
"Just talking to some people on the coaching staff there, they didn't really see the year that he was going to have coming," Reid said of Legette. "(He's) every bit of 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, very strong, and if there's one game I would recommend for you to watch of Xavier Legette, it would be the Mississippi State game.
"He was absolutely terrific in that game. He showed great hands, he's very strong, he runs really good routes, but it's the acceleration that he has -- you're going to see the name AJ Brown (and) those types of receivers tagged to him now. I don't think he's as good as AJ was coming out of Ole Miss, but as far as stylistically of what he can be on the next level, I think it'd be very similar to a AJ Brown type of receiver."
Reid added that Legette is a versatile wideout who can play both the "X" and "Z" positions while excelling as a run blocker as well. The 22-year-old will have a chance to showcase that versatility in Senior Bowl practices next week, and while Legette is currently the eighth-ranked receiver on Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board, Reid wouldn't be surprised if he climbs up that list after the Senior Bowl.
"You're talking about all these different hats that he can wear, and we're going to be able to see these things at the Senior Bowl," Reid noted. "I'll never forget, Terry McLaurin and Deebo Samuel were actually in the same year of the Senior Bowl, and where they both shined was on special teams and then of course the one-on-one sessions (versus the) DBs, they shined in that area too.
"I think Xavier Legette could have a similar type of rise as both of those guys."
Also in this episode:
ESPN's Jordan Reid analyzes differences between Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels
Which Senior Bowl players could be Patriots fits?