It's safe to say that the Patriots Wide Receivers position is a concern for the club heading into the 2019 offseason. The 2018 team struggled all year with finding the consistency among its receiver corps, with players like Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett having roller coaster performances. Luckily they pulled it all together in time for a brilliant playoff run. However, heading into the 2019 season, there are many similar concerns.
Hogan left in free agency after the Patriots seemed to have little interest in re-signing him. Josh Gordon is still suspended by the league, with no real indication of whether he will be reinstated any time soon. Julian Edelman is getting older. On top of all of that, the team will not have Rob Gronkowski as a safety net. There is going to be more asked of a group that is not exactly intimidating.
However, Patriots fans should still have faith in the receiver group heading into training camp. Dorsett is coming off of a decent regular season and may finally be ready to step up and contribute with Hogan gone. Edelman is still spry at 33 years old. The team signed Demaryius Thomas who had a productive 2018 season despite spotty quarterback play. Other signed players like Maurice Harris and Dontrelle Inman have experience and could find their niche in New England.
The team also has a whole host of young players. Braxton Berrios spent the 2018 season on injured reserve but could make solid contributions this year, especially on special teams. The team's 2019 first round pick N'Keal Harry should be able to contribute from day one at multiple positions. Undrafted rookies Ryan Davis and Jakobi Meyers could also create some competition and surprise some people.
The Patriots may not have any stars yet outside of Edelman, but they have enough depth to put together a solid wide receiver corps.
- Julian Edelman: The reigning Super Bowl MVP got a new deal this offseason that should keep him in New England for the remainder of his career. Even at 33, he will be able to contribute and will be a leader for this group.
- N'Keal Harry: It's pretty safe to say that the team's first-round pick will be on the roster when September rolls around. If he can develop a rapport with Tom Brady quickly, he could be a major contributor from day one.
- Phillip Dorsett: The former first-round pick hasn't blown anyone away so far in his career, but the Patriots will be relying on him this season. He has two years of experience in their offense and knows Brady. He will be the team's third or fourth receiver.
- Josh Gordon*: This one has an asterisk because we still don't know what Gordon's status will be when camp and the season open. However, the Patriots could have released Gordon after he was suspended by the league and chose not to. Clearly, they have confidence in him as a player and a person. If he gets reinstated, he will be a major factor in their offense.
- Demaryius Thomas: I wanted to place Thomas in the roster lock category because I think he can still be a highly productive receiver. His numbers have been slowed the last few seasons because of some embarrassing quarterback play, but he has still put up quality stats. However, the Patriots have signed veteran players before who everyone thinks will contribute that never make it out of camp (see Eric Decker in 2018). I think Thomas will figure it out and find a spot because he is a high character player, but he is still not a lock.
- Braxton Berrios: The Patriots 2018 sixth round pick showed promise in training camp last year before getting placed on IR. He is not going to jump in and be the next Julian Edelman right away, but he could begin to work in as a contributor. Plus, he has the ability to return punts and take the heat off of Edelman.
- Dontrelle Inman: The former Charger and Colt has had a wildly inconsistent career. While four of his five seasons were average at best, he had a fantastic 2016 that saw him catch nearly 60 balls for over 800 yards. If he can be that receiver again, the Patriots may have found a diamond in the rough.
Unlikely To Make The Roster
- Maurice Harris: Through three seasons, Harris has never made a serious impact in a team's passing game. He does have upside as a returner, but if Berrios looks better, there may not be a spot for Harris to carve out for himself.
- Jakobi Meyers: A big slot receiver, Meyers is an interesting prospect who the team could take a developmental flyer on. However, with the experience of players like Thomas and Inman, Meyers may be more likely to hit the practice squad.
- Ryan Davis: Like Berrios and Harris, Davis will be relying on his punt returning skills to crack the roster. He has some experience as a pass catcher, but not enough to jump over many of these other players.