The New England Patriots' group of wide receivers could look a lot different in a few months, but right now with training camp underway, there's not a lot of top-tier talent to get excited about.
Julian Edelman, who won Super Bowl LIII MVP in February, easily is the player on the team's WR depth chart. After him, the talent level drops off quite a bit. Rookie wideout N'Keal Harry has shown promise early in camp and veteran Phillip Dorsett played well in the playoffs last season, but there's still not a ton for quarterback Tom Brady to work with.
Pro Football Focus recently unveiled their rankings of the top wide receiver groups in the NFL entering the 2019 season. The Patriots ranked 26th on PFF's list.
Here's what PFF had to say about New England's receiving corps:
No matter who the Patriots employ from the outside, they always seem to make it work. A corps made up of former castoffs Phillip Dorsett, Cordarelle Patterson and Josh Gordon complemented Julian Edelman nicely in 2018, as each hauled in at least three touchdowns and graded in the 67.0-73.5 range. But the latter two are out of the picture (at least for now with Gordon). Now rookie N’Keal Harry, who notched the fourth-highest receiving grade among draft-eligible wideouts (87.8) a season ago, is expected to take on a key role out of the gate.
Josh Gordon remains suspended indefinitely, and if he returns to the Patriots at any point this season, they probably would shoot up these rankings. Gordon tallied 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games with the Patriots last season before being suspended again in December. The veteran wideout is the type of deep-threat the Patriots currently lack on their WR depth chart.
Harry is the real X-factor in the Pats passing attack entering the new season.
He's the first wide receiver ever drafted in the first round by Bill Belichick during his tenure as Patriots head coach, so clearly the team believes he can contribute right away. His impressive size, strength and ability to make tough catches in traffic should help him make a smooth transition to the pro game.
The Patriots are the only team ranked in the bottom-tier of this Pro Football Focus wide receiver list that has a great quarterback. Brady has made the most out of mediocre wide receiver groups many times in his career, so the lack of elite talent throughout the WR depth chart is not a huge weakness for the Patriots. That said, they do need some of these receivers to step up in 2019, especially with the tight end group also looking weak following Rob Gronkowski's retirement.
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