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July 25, 2007
With training camp set to begin July 27, we'll take a snapshot look at each position on the Patriots' roster, starting with a quick chart, then following that up with a list of each player at the position. The defensive line (Wednesday), offensive line (Thursday), linebackers (Friday), specialists (Saturday), quarterbacks (Sunday) defensive backs (Monday) and running backs (Tuesday) have been covered. Today, we look at the wide receivers:
|STRENGTH||Options. Last year, the Patriots had three receivers on their season-opening, game-day roster. No chance that happens this time around, with 12 receivers in camp, 10 of which have NFL game experience. |
|WEAKNESS||History in system. Of the 12 receivers in camp, six are working in the system for the first time, including potential top targets Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Donte’ Stallworth and Kelley Washington. |
|TOP QUESTION||How will Randy Moss fit into the Patriots’ passing attack? With a maximum of six receivers likely to be kept, which experienced target might not make the cut?|
|FUTURE||Wes Welker (2011) is the only veteran target locked up for the long-term. Randy Moss, Reche Caldwell, Jabar Gaffney and Troy Brown all have deals that expire after the season. Donte’ Stallworth and Kelley Washington technically have long-term deals, but they include big bonus payments next year that could make them one-year pacts.|
Wide receiver personnel:
Troy Brown (15th year) -- Old reliable knows he faces a significant challenge to earn a roster spot, but his versatility to play special teams and even defense -- not to mention his leadership -- would make him a tough cut. He is currently on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he can not practice until he comes off the list.
Reche Caldwell (6th year) -- After leading the team with 61 catches in 2006, Caldwell returns for his second season and should have a head start on the competition when it comes to developing a rapport with Brady. He projects to be in competition for a third, fourth, fifth or sixth roster spot.
Bam Childress (2nd year) -- An overachiever who has spent time on the Patriots' practice squad in each of the last two seasons, Childress faces longer odds for a roster spot. His punt return skills are a potential plus.
Chris Dunlap (rookie) -- A free agent from Georgia Tech, he signed with the team in May and faces some of the longest odds to earn a roster spot.
Jabar Gaffney (6th year) –- Entering his second season with the Patriots after signing with the club during the 2006 season, Gaffney came on strong in the playoffs and will look to build on that performance. He figures to be in a fight for a fourth, fifth or sixth roster spot.
Chad Jackson (2nd year) –- Second-round draft choice in 2006 is returning from a torn ACL and is currently on the physically unable to perform list. Jackson was injured in the AFC Championship game in January and is not fully healed.
C.J. Jones (2nd year) –- Former Iowa product joined the team in June, and faces some of the longest odds to earn a roster spot.
Kelvin Kight (2nd year) -- After spending time on the Patriots' practice squad in 2006, he was promoted to the active roster and appeared in four games (1 catch). He is a longer shot to earn a roster spot, but has some experience on special teams coverage units.
Randy Moss (10th year) –- Acquired in a trade with the Raiders, Moss could be the most lethal weapon that quarterback Tom Brady has worked with in the NFL. Veteran receiver Troy Brown has marveled at Moss's hand-eye coordination and ability to snare balls in traffic.
Donte’ Stallworth (6th year) –- A first-round draft choice in 2002 who was a free agent for the first time this offseason, Stallworth could have been a No. 1 receiver elsewhere (e.g. Tennessee) but instead opted to catch passes from Brady. He could help balance the field if defenses roll coverages toward Moss.
Kelley Washington (5th year) -- Signed as a free agent after four seasons with the Bengals, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Washington adds a physical presence to the receiving corps and figures to battle for a fourth, fifth or sixth roster spot. He is currently on the physically unable to perform list.
Wes Welker (4th year) -- Acquired in a trade with the Dolphins and signed to a five-year extension, Welker is as close to a lock as it gets. He projects to be a dangerous weapon in the slot and also a factor as a punt returner.
Posted By: mreiss
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