NFL analyst says WR Kendrick Bourne is Patriots’ most underrated player

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Kendrick Bourne was arguably the New England Patriots’ most important acquisition during the team’s spending frenzy in 2021.

Bourne, 26, was brought in on a three-year deal worth $15 million and he was alongside Jakobi Meyers as the Patriots’ best receiver. He grabbed 55 receptions with 800 yards and five touchdowns — adding on 12 rushes for 125 yards. In comparison, Nelson Agholor was brought in on a $22 million deal and he only had 37 catches for 473 yards.

Along with bringing productivity on the field, Bourne was one of the most energetic personalities in all situations. Football Outsiders’ Scott Spratt recognized the impact Bourne made and he named him the most underrated player on the Patriots in an ESPN column.

With a career high of 74 targets, Bourne has fallen well short of the 100-catch and 1,000-yard benchmarks that earn receivers the most attention. But not even Cooper Kupp or Davante Adams could match Bourne for efficiency last season.

The Patriots receiver led his position (minimum 50 targets) with a 30.1% receiving DVOA. And he ranked in the top 12 at the position with both a 7.0 receiving plus/minus — which estimates that he caught seven more passes than an average receiver with his distribution of targets — and 7.0 average yards after the catch.

The Patriots have a competitive receiver room with Meyers, Bourne, DeVante Parker, Agholor, Tyquan Thornton, Tre Nixon and N’Keal Harry all fighting for a starting role.

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