One of the most intriguing New England Patriots camp battles is at Wide Receiver. This group might not be the most talented bunch in the league, but pretty much all eleven receivers currently on the roster have the ability to be productive in varying degrees in the NFL. I have gone with 7 receivers on the roster, with Slater being a core special team contributor.
- Julian Edelman (53)
- Danny Amendola (53)
- Chris Hogan (53)
- Nate Washington (53)
- Malcolm Mitchell (53)
- Keyshawn Martin (53)
- Matthew Slater (53)
- Aaron Dobson (Cut)
- DeAndre Carter (PS)
- Chris Harper (Cut)
- Devin Lucien (Cut)
Edelman, Amendola and Hogan are as close to a sure thing to make the roster. After them there is a big question mark. It could conceivably be any of the remaining 8, but as always, the Lateral View will remove itself from the fence and make a decision. Mitchell is a 4th round pick from this year and will a developmental player on the team who could be red-shirted in a similar way to James White in his rookie year. There is also a big chance he suffers the Foxboro Flu and is put on IR.
Martin is a strange one. On one hand he has been quite productive when called upon and he has good kick return ability. On the other hand he doesn’t have the high ceiling that a player like Mitchell might. He could be a surprise cut (would it really be a surprise?) but it would take a stellar performance in preseason by one of those listed 8-11 above to force him out. Slater is one of the locker room leaders but doesn’t bring anything on offence. He is a Pro-Bowl special teamer and could be a team Hall of Famer if he plays another 5-6 years at a high level.
In an earlier blog post this site predicted the signing of Nate Washington. His consistency across his career and strong locker room presence will mean he stays around at least for the 2016 season. Whilst opening camp with some type of viral illness, Washington has starter to show the reasons why he is one of the most consistent receivers in the league over the last 8 years.
Carter is the choice for the Practice Squad with Harper and Lucien being cut close to the start of the season. Dobson is the wild card but I think it would be a good idea for both parties to part company and start afresh. Don’t rule out a trade for a 6th or 7th rounder or a player for player trade.
Next up will be the Offensive lineman.