When the Patriots signed Chris Hogan to a three-year deal last week, they added a versatile receiver who could help fill the void left behind by Brandon LaFell's release just before the start of the new league year. Not only will Hogan provide a measure of insurance on the inside, but at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds he could provide a physical presence on the outside as well.
But now that Hogan is in the fold, does that mean the Patriots are done adding at that position? Not necessarily.
Hogan joins a depth chart that includes Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper, DeAndre Carter and Matthew Slater. While Martin provided the Patriots with valuable snaps in 2015 -- he surpassed LaFell as the No. 3 receiver late in the year -- it's unclear how much the Patriots will get from their last four wideouts on the roster.
Dobson has dealt with injuries in each of the last two seasons and played a combined 12 games. Harper played in five games in his rookie season, filling in as a receiver and punt returner with limited success while both Edelman and Amendola were hurt. Carter signed with the Patriots practice squad late last season and has not seen any game action in the NFL. And as a special teams captain, Slater's contributions will come primarily in the kicking game.
In each of the last three seasons, the Patriots have entered training camp with at least 10 receivers on their 90-man roster. There's no guarantee they reach that number again this year, but it would come as no surprise if Bill Belichick and his staff added a few more pass catchers to the list between now and late July.
Whether they opt to add experienced depth via free agency or turn to the draft, there are a variety of options the Patriots have to choose from.
Anquan Boldin, 35: More of a slot receiver at this point in his career, Boldin proved last season that he still had plenty in the tank, catching 69 passes in what was an often abysmal 49ers offense.
Percy Harvin, 27: Hampered by injury, Harvin has scored just three times in the last three seasons. But when healthy, he can be a versatile offensive weapon with the ability to contribute as a returner on special teams as well.
James Jones, 31: A go-to guy for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers early last season, his production fell off as the year went along, but he still finished with eight touchdowns.
Rueben Randle, 24: The Giants needed a No. 2 wideout to pair with Odell Beckham Jr., yet Randle couldn't consistently provide a presence opposite his Pro Bowl teammate. He ended the year with 57 catches for 797 yards and eight scores.
Mike Wallace, 29: A true down-the-field threat during the first four years of his career in Pittsburgh, Wallace has had trouble producing explosive plays on a regular basis during stops in Miami and Minnesota. In New England, where quarterback Tom Brady is typically at his best when stressing defenses with a short-to-intermediate passing game, Wallace doesn't seem like a natural fit.
POTENTIAL PATRIOTS PICKS
Leonte Caroo, Rutgers: At 6-feet, 211 pounds Carroo has good size and dependable hands. He was also a team captain for the Scarlet Knights. The Patriots have five Rutgers products on their roster at the moment, more than any other school.
Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa: With 1,588 yards receiving in his final college season, Garrett led the nation, and he appears to have physical traits (6-foot-3, 220 pounds and with 34.5-inch arms) that will translate to an impressive catch radius at the next level. According to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net and Walter Football, the Patriots had a visit scheduled with Garrett after the combine.
Ricardo Louis, Auburn: Belichick recently made sure to visit Auburn's pro day during his annual offseason tour of college campuses, likely getting a closer look at one of the best athletes at the receiver position in this draft class. Projected as a late-round pick, Louis ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and broad jumped 11 feet, which was the longest jump at his position at the NFL Scouting Combine. Louis also worked out at defensive back at his pro day, something he hadn't done since high school.
Byron Marshall, Oregon: The Swiss Army knife type rushed for 1,000 yards in 2013 and racked up 1,000 yards receiving the following season. Like Garrett, Marshall also had a workout scheduled with the Patriots, per Pauline.
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma: If the Patriots want to add to their stable of talented slot receivers for 2016 and beyond, Shepard is among the best available this year. He posted 86 catches for 1,288 yards and 11 scores in his final season with the Sooners.
Michael Thomas, Ohio State: Perhaps a bit raw in his route-running, at 6-foot-3 Thomas is built like a traditional No. 1 receiver and has the athleticism to match. According to Pauline, Thomas has a workout scheduled with the Patriots this week.