FOXBORO — The New England Patriots know they can rely on Julian Edelman, but who else? The wide receiver position is in an interesting place heading into the 2019 regular season. It can either be extremely explosive, or fairly problematic.
Of course N’Keal Harry has talent and size, but he’s never faced NFL opponents before leaving plenty of room for growing pains. That being said, he also has the potential to be an enormous threat with some fine tuning of his route running.
And then there’s Phillip Dorsett. While he isn’t targeted too frequently, good things happen when Tom Brady gets him the ball.
Digging into some #Patriots charting numbers from last season: Tom Brady was 8-8 for 73 yards, 1 TD and a 144.3 rating on out routes to Phillip Dorsett. Random. But that's pretty darn good.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) June 19, 2019
Dorsett is a very good route runner due to his bursts of speed. The Patriots also utilize him in many different ways, especially in practice, where they use him in the kicking game. Brady loves to have a sneaky good target up his sleeve, and Dorsett will continue to be that this season.
The depth at WR continues with players like Maurice Harris and Braxton Berrios. Both of those guys will have eyes on them throughout training camp to assess their growth and capability.
And all this is without mentioning the possible return of Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas. There’s no denying that Gordon would be a tremendously helpful asset to New England’s offense and solve their current lack of a downfield threat. When it comes to Thomas, he’s certainly not the player he once was, but the question is whether or not he has anything left in the tank at all.
If all of these players perform at their peaks, this could be the most deadly group of wide receivers the Patriots have had in a long time. But, it’s also likely that just two or three of these wideouts live up to expectations and Brady will have to do more with less.