The wide receiver position is one of the most in-flux areas for the 2019 New England Patriots. Heading into training camp, Tom Brady will be without Julian Edelman (finger), Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Josh Gordon, not to mention tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Edelman's injury shouldn't keep him out of any regular season games, so Brady will still have his favorite target for the games that matter. In the offseason, New England has made a point to retool the receiving corps in the absence of Gronkowski and the other losses. That's why they spent their first round pick on Arizona State wideout N'Keal Harry. They took chances on veteran free agents Demaryius Thomas and Dontrelle Inman.
New England also added Maurice Harris, who played slot receiver in Washington for the past three seasons. In training camp, undrafted quarterback-convert Jakobi Meyers, practice squad journeyman Damoun Patterson, undrafted rookie Ryan Davis and ex-defensive back Gunner Olszewski will also compete for reps.
But without Gronkowski and Gordon, Brady will likely have to rely on Edelman and the rookie for the bulk of the passing game. New England's track record taking flyers on veteran receivers (Chad Ochocinco, Reggie Wayne, Eric Decker) is shaky, and Phillip Dorsett — who is returning to the team — has never averaged more than 2.2 receptions per game. Braxton Berrios may make his NFL debut after missing his rookie season with an undisclosed injury.
Full List of WRs:
In 2018, the Patriots carried three tight ends (Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister) and six receivers including gunner Matthew Slater. If they plan to do that again this year, Berrios, Thomas, Inman and Harris may be fighting for the final two spots on the 53-man roster.
Thomas, probably the most talented of the bunch, is starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list, which risks losing valuable time to develop chemistry with Brady. Berrios, whom the Patriots selected with last year's sixth round pick, adds value as a slot receiver and punt returner. At 6-foot-3, Inman could add an option outside the numbers. Harris, also 6-foot-3, caught one touchdown in his three previous seasons with the Redskins.
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