Breaking Down the New England Patriots’ Training Camp Battle Among Wide Receivers
The New England Patriots will display a reassembled wide receiving corps in 2013. Danny Amendola is the heralded No. 1 wide receiver. Rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce will also be featured heavily in the offense. But who else will be catching passes from quarterback Tom Brady?
More likely than not, the Patriots will only keep six receivers on the 53-man-roster. Outside of Amendola, Dobson and Boyce, special teams captain Matthew Slater is the only other guarantee to earn a spot at the wide out position. This leaves the veteran group of Julian Edelman, Michael Jenkins, Lavelle Hawkins and undrafted rookie Kembrell Thompkins to duke it out for the final two spots for the wide receiving corps.
Who has the inside edge for these two spots?
Edelman would appear to be a lock to make the team, given he is the lone wide receiver returning from last year’s roster, but his health issues cloud his potential use in the offense. Nevertheless, Edelman is a versatile wide out that head coach Bill Belichick yearns for in his players.
Jenkins has been working out with the first string players during drills for much of the offseason. He has looked in sync with Brady and has showed off reliable hands throughout camp. Then again, his slow release off the line is apparent and his dependability in the offense could be in question because of his lack of speed.
Hawkins is an athletic wide out that could be used on the outside and in the slot as his skill sets are very suitable for this offense. However, his miscommunication with Brady in camp, piled on with him dropping several passes in recent days, could put his future with the team in doubt.
Thompkins has been a pleasant surprise in training camp, just like he was in OTAs. He appears to have the rudiments of being a receiver on the outside. Alas, a third rookie receiver may not be in the interest of Belichick and Brady.
It is anyone’s guess as to who will make the roster come September. There is certainly a major battle at the wide receiver position and the remainder of training camp and preseason will likely decide which two players will be part of the Patriots’ 2013 roster.