The New England Patriots weren’t shy about upgrading their wide receivers room in the offseason, as they traded for a veteran in DeVante Parker and used a second-round pick on Tyquan Thornton. Even with the new faces, holdovers like Tre Nixon figure to play a huge part in New England’s preseason plan of attack.
While he didn’t record any stats during his rookie year, the Patriots are giving Nixon every opportunity to prove that he belongs higher on the depth chart than names like N’Keal Harry and Kristian Wilkerson. The early returns have been very impressive for the speedy UCF alum.
Evan Lazar observed that Nixon made a fantastic catch on a Mac Jones deep ball while establishing himself as a more complete receiver who is ready to become an impact deep threat. Nelson Agholor better watch out if Nixon keeps shredding up OTA competition like Jon Jones and Shaun Wade.
Lazar also reported that Nixon had some success fielding punts, which could help him secure that role over third-round pick and returner extraordinaire Marcus Jones. Nixon has been dazzling in camp, and this could lead to him eventually ending up taking home the punt returner and WR4 gigs.
Tre Nixon emerging as a weapon for the New England Patriots?
Nixon averaged over 15 yards per catch during his 2018 and 2019 collegiate seasons, as his blinding speed helped him become a perfect vertical field stretcher. Nixon needed to add weight and get a bit more refined in the pros and apparently used the 2021 season to do just that.
Nixon’s ability to haul in deep passes could make him a particularly intriguing weapon for the Patriots. They lacked that dimension in their offense for large chunks of last season. Now, Nixon and Jones are establishing quite the connection at practice, which bodes well for the receivers chances of solid playing time (while also making the offense more dynamic).
Nixon fell as far as he did in the draft due to injury concerns and some poor hands. As a smaller receiver who got outmuscled on 50-50 balls, he had too many drops for some teams to stomach. New England felt like they could work with him, and he appears to be making strides in that area.
He still has a long way to go when it comes to proving that his performance is a result of tangible improvement rather than an OTA flash in the pan, but the early returns are encouraging for fans who liked this draft pick back in 2021.