You've already heard the words "Brandon Lloyd" and "Patriots" in the same sentence several times since the end of the season. On Tuesday, Lloyd was with Mike Florio at PFT to talk about his future with free agency approaching. But what exactly is the skill set that makes Lloyd so desirable? He's barely 6-1, he came out of Illinois in 2003 running a 4.5 and weighing 185 points. What's his hook? Well, first off, he can jump out of the gym (here's some video of that). In high school, he high-jumped 7'-2". As this highlight compilation shows, he has a smooth, smooth gait, tracks the ball exceptionally well and can catch in traffic. He's a long-strider, which means his inside-the-numbers work may not be as polished as he would be outside the numbers (the need to take choppy steps and change directions quickly are not "long-strider" attributes). What Lloyd would bring to the Patriots that they don't have (at least at wide receiver) is someone who can win when the ball is in the air either by jumping over or around defenders or running past them. There's a misconception about Randy Moss' time in New England in which his height and ability to elevate were seen as qualities to his game. The number of times Moss actually left the ground to high-point a ball were very, very rare. Moss preferred to run past defenders and track deep balls. One of his tactics was to look back for a pass and not raise his hands until the last instant, letting the ball drop past a cornerback still in pursuit but not anticipating the pass. Moss did not adequately compete for balls in the air, especially late in his Patriots tenure. Lloyd does. He's tenacious with the ball in the air and - aside from Gronk - there really isn't a player that Tom Brady can make a risky throw to with confidence that his guy is going to win on a 50-50 ball. This is not to say Lloyd is better than Randy Moss. But a better fit now? No question.
Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is renowned for his football intellect, but players know he's more than an X's and O's man.