In the lead-up to training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the wide receivers.
Locks: Julian Edelman; N'Keal Harry; Mohamed Sanu
Bubble: Damiere Byrd; Marqise Lee; Jakobi Meyers; Gunner Olszewski
In the Mix: Quincy Adeboyejo; Devin Ross; Will Hastings; Jeff Thomas; Sean Riley; Isaiah Zuber
ANALYSIS: Edelman and Harry headline a group where there will be plenty of opportunity. Edelman turned 34 this offseason but showed little sign of decline in 2019 despite battling through multiple injuries. First-round pick Harry got a late start himself due to injury but Josh McDaniels manufactured ways to get him involved. The team will be hoping for a big second-year jump from Harry who has the size to cause matchup problems for defenses.
Mohamed Sanu suffered an ankle injury early after his arrival in New England last season and never really got on track. He required offseason surgery and his training camp status remains uncertain. If they're all healthy, and that's a big if, the top three receivers give the offense a solid starting ground, but how the rest of the depth chart performs will determine the long-term prognosis for the offense.
Second-year receivers Meyers and Olszewski won roster spots as rookies with strong training camps and they'll need great summers once again to hold off veteran free agent signings Damiere Byrd and Marqise Lee. Byrd is a speedy outside receiver, while Lee was just finding his professional stride before injuries sidetracked his career the last two seasons.
2019 practice squadders Quincy Adeboyejo and Devin Ross will compete with a collection of four undrafted rookies that all have intriguing traits. Will Hastings sparked with Jarrett Stidham at Auburn, Sean Riley is a return specialist, Isaiah Zuber finished his career at Kansas State in the top-10 for catches, yards and receiving touchdowns, while Miami's Jeff Thomas is an explosive playmaker if he can leave his off-the-field issues behind him.
Injury history makes this one of the most uncertain position groups on the roster, as Jakobi Meyers was the only Patriots receiver to make it through last season without getting hurt. Can new and consistent targets emerge? Byrd and Thomas have exciting speed if they can translate it to New England's offense, that's a badly-needed element of the attack that was missing in 2019.
This figures to be one of the most interesting positional groups of training camp, with who sparks with the new starting quarterback being a great unknown that will have a big impact on the offense this season.