Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com believes that free-agent tight ends Dallas Clark and David Thomas could be on the Patriots' radar given the uncertainty surrounding Aaron Hernandez.
"The Patriots hosted the 34-year-old Clark on a free-agent visit last offseason before he signed with the Buccaneers, and the 29-year-old Thomas played for the Patriots from 2006-2008," writes Reiss. "Both are more 'move' type tight ends and would fit more in the Hernandez-type role -- Clark at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, and Thomas at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds -- and both have the reputation as being top-notch locker room guys."
Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com gives Julian Edelman an 80% chance of making the Patriots 53-man roster. The speedy wideout is currently recovering from a foot injury that ended his 2012 season.
"Edelman is the only wide receiver who recorded a catch last season who is still on the roster," notes Rodak. "His familiarity with quarterback Tom Brady makes him an asset, especially with uncertainty swirling around the tight end position."
Doug Kyed of NESN.com writes that if Rob Gronkowski is forced to miss game action in 2013, Jake Ballard will likely receive the majority of snaps at tight end in his absence.
"If Gronkowski and Hernandez miss games at the same time (which they have never done since both coming into the league in 2010), Fells, Hoomanwanui or rookie Zach Sudfeld could contribute in Hernandez's place. In fact, Sudfeld may be the best fit to replace Hernandez at tight end," adds Kyed.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com ranks the NFL's best slot receivers and places Patriots WR Danny Amendola at No. 5 on the list. The rest of the top-five includes Percy Harvin of the Seahawks, Randall Cobb of the Packers, Wes Welker of the Broncos, and Victor Cruz of the Giants.
"He's not Welker 2.0. Amendola is more like a cross between all the guys above, with an underrated ability to get behind defenders," writes Rosenthal. "The talent is there for a monster season, but Amendola's durability issues put him lower on the list."