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Patriots wide receiver battle: Thoughts on each player and chances of making roster

Ryan Hannable
August 11, 2018 - 1:33 pm
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The wide receiver position is one of the most interesting on the Patriots right now. 

Things changed dramatically when Malcolm Mitchell and Jordan Matthews were released and Eric Decker was added. It's one of the most competitive on the roster with a number of players battling for roster spots and it really could go to anyone. With Julian Edelman being suspended the first four games, a wide out will likely make the team that likely wouldn't otherwise.

Here's a few quick thoughts on each player currently on the depth chart.

Julian Edelman - Edelman didn't have a catch in Thursday's preseason opener despite playing well into the second quarter, but he appeared open on a few plays. It was a good sign that he was able to see extended time and not show any limitations coming back from tearing his ACL last preseason. Speaking last week he noted he didn't feel 100 percent and was just taking things day-by-day. While he may not have the same quickness as he did before the injury just yet, he is still moving well for it being just around a year since the injury. With him missing the first four games of the year, he likely will see extended playing time in the last three preseason games.

Chris Hogan - It wasn't a good night for Hogan in the first preseason game as he had two drops and a pass interference penalty. Obviously, this was with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and not Tom Brady, but it's still worth noting since he hasn't really flashed in practices, either. Many are counting on him to be the No. 1 wide receiver in Edelman's absence, but we haven't seen anything to date that shows he's 100 percent capable. He seems better suited as a No. 2 or 3 option in an offense. 

Phillip Dorsett - Dorsett has flashed in training camp, but didn't do much in Thursday's game. He's lined up both in the slot and on the outside, which is different from a year ago when he was exclusively on the outside. We view him as a lock along with Hogan for the first 53-man roster and has a good chance of being a major contributor not only the first four weeks, but the entire year. Brady seems to like him, too.

Eric Decker - The newly added receiver got a few snaps in Thursday's game as he gets up to speed with the offense. His experience with Josh McDaniels in Denver should help. Even though he's only getting $75,000 guaranteed, we view him as a lock to make the team because why would the team sign him when they did? Also, given his experience in the league, he appears to be a better option than taking a chance on a younger player just given the lack of overall depth at the position.

Cordarrelle Patterson - Patterson made a couple of nice catches in the game, but he also appeared to run a wrong route on another. This has been his story of his camp thus far as he's seemed to make a spectacular catch in each session, but then either has a miscommunication or a dropped pass. Still, his roster spot is safe because of his kick return abilities. He likely will be involved as a receiver, but just in certain sets. He doesn't seem like an every down receiver.

Kenny Britt - This is getting a little strange as he's yet to participate in a full practice after suffering a hamstring injury during minicamp. Given his lack of experience with Brady, he needs to get on the field to develop some chemistry. Given the team picked up his option for this season, it seems they like him, but it's a little curious why he's taking so long to get back on the field. Until he does, it's hard to say whether or not he will make the team.

Riley McCarron - After a slow start to training camp, he's seemed to pick things up lately. It also stood out that he was the primary punt returner Thursday night. Cyrus Jones likely will be when he returns to game action, but if Jones struggles, then McCarron could be the guy. That could also be his ticket to making the 53-man roster because at this point solely as a receiver he may be on the outside looking in.

Braxton Berrios - Given all the hype he had coming into training camp, there hasn't been much there. McCarron has appeared to be above him on the depth chart since the start of camp and he hasn't done anything to close that gap. Berrios was the second punt returner Thursday. At this point, he seems like a candidate for the practice squad.

Devin Lucien - Lucien had one of the better games on Thursday night and he could be a dark horse to make the roster given his experience with the system over the last couple of seasons. If it comes down to Berrios, McCarron or Lucien making the team, the edge may go to Lucien just because of his knowledge. A solid next few weeks could make things interesting. One knock on him is he doesn't participate in special teams.

Paul Turner - At this point it seems he's just an extra body to have in camp.

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