Gronkowski reveals how he would upgrade Patriots at wide receiver originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It's no secret the New England Patriots have to upgrade at wide receiver after a disappointing 2022 NFL season for the team's offense.
The Patriots didn't have a single wideout tally 70-plus receptions, 850-plus receiving yards or more than six touchdown catches last season. Second-year running back Rhamondre Stevenson actually led the team with 69 receptions.
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How do the Patriots get better at this important position?
Next Pats: Rob Gronkowski: Patriots DEFINITELY need to go get a WR like DeAndre Hopkins | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube
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Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski recently joined NBC Sports Boston's "Next Pats Podcast" with Phil Perry, and he explained how he would go about bolstering the Patriots' talent and depth at wide receiver.
"(Mac Jones) is going to need some help," Gronkowski said. "I believe he's going to need a wide receiver like a DeAndre Hopkins to come in. A very savvy, veteran wide receiver. On top of that, they're going to need a first-round pick wide receiver, or a second- or third-rounder as well to help him out and get him to Pro Bowl status."
Gronk added: "You need to bring in a guy like Hopkins or another veteran wideout who still has game and will put up touchdowns and receptions and yards. You have to bring in a very talented young kid in the draft as well. I feel like it's definitely going to happen, too, especially after watching that offense last year."
Gronkowski also thinks the tight ends, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, will see their production improve if the Patriots have a real No. 1 wide receiver who worries defenses.
The Hopkins trade speculation has been going on for months. We know him and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick have a ton of respect for each other. The Arizona Cardinals could be staring at a mini-rebuild, and trading Hopkins would help them accumulate more draft picks.
Adding a wide receiver early in the draft makes sense for the Patriots, too, even with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round. Several recent mock drafts have projected the Patriots taking a wideout such as USC's Jordan Addison, TCU's Quentin Johnston or Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba. However, the Patriots have selected a wideout in Round 1 only once during Belichick's 23-year tenure as head coach, and that was in 2019 when they picked N'Keal Harry. We all know how poorly that turned out.
Also in this episode: Perry asks Gronkowski about Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, the Patriots' tight ends and much more.