At this point, it would be a minor miracle if Aaron Dobson suited up this Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. That means the New England Patriots are likely down to one candidate to play split end in rookie Kenbrell Thompkins.
Thankfully Thompkins is not your normal undrafted rookie free agent. He played a significant role in the regular season, and at one point Thompkins was the No. 2 wide receiver for this team. Eventually, Dobson overtook Thompkins, but that did not factor Thompkins out of the offense for the rest of the season.
After an injury to Dobson in the middle of the season, it was Thompkins who reclaimed the split end role. Although he was often ignored by Tom Brady, Thompkins would be able to make a catch here and there. The totem pole basically went like this: Julian Edelman, Shane Vereen, Thompkins/Danny Amendola (depending on the game), and so on.
Josh McDaniels decided to run more two-tight end offenses toward the middle of the season which meant that Edelman and only one other wide receiver could be out on the field. If Dobson was healthy it was him, but since Dobson was injured that man has been Thompkins.
So it is only logical to suspect that Thompkins will officially be the No. 2 wide receiver on Saturday. While he does not stretch the field (which is what the Patriots truly need), he can certainly make things happen at the intermediate level. And that is what he will need to do so that Brady does not have to throw to Edelman and Vereen all night.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.