Pats fill receiver void with Lloyd

It’s not often that a player goes on national radio and openly markets himself to one team.

Then again, Brandon Lloyd isn’t like every other player.

The nine-year veteran is the definition of a journeyman, having played for five teams since he entered the league as a fourth-round pick in 2003. After improving his numbers during his first three years as a 49er, Lloyd was an utter bust in Washington and nondescript in his lone season in Chicago.

When he signed with the Broncos, it looked like more of the same for the talented, but inconsistent deep threat. He lasted only two games in 2009 but thanks to Josh McDaniels, he burst onto the scene in 2010, leading the league with 1,448 receiving yards.

After being traded to the Rams, Lloyd was re-united with McDaniels and finished the 2011 season with 51 receptions for 683 yards in 10 starts.

Unfortunately for Lloyd, his strong play in 2010 and 2011 didn’t result in a huge market for his services. Questions lingered about his commitment, inconsistent career and age. He also happened to enter unrestricted free agency in a year that saw Vincent Jackson, Robert Meachem, Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe and several other top receivers on the open market.

Luckily for Lloyd, the Patriots had a need at receiver.

And they have Josh McDaniels.

Although it took a few days, the Pats finally inked Lloyd to a three-year, $12 million deal on Saturday. The fit between team and player couldn’t be better, and the Pats seemed to have struck a team-friendly deal with a player who was second-team All Pro just two years ago.

Whiel Lloyd is often described as a deep threat, he’s not Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss. The 6-foot, 200-pounder has good speed, but his best assets are his hands and his ability to go up and get the football. Those strengths should fit well in New England where the Patriots often struggled to get anything going outside the numbers.

Because of his experience in McDaniels’ system, this shouldn’t be another Ochocinco debacle. Lloyd is a good route runner, knows the terminology and understands what it takes to be successful in a high-octane offense. He also benefits from being surrounded by fantastic receivers in Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

My early prediction for Lloyd would be something around 70 catches for 1,000 yards and seven scores. If the team is able to draft another big, physical target with deep speed, this offense could be the best of the Brady-Belichick era.

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