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Patriots Unfiltered Tue Oct 26 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

Patriots Position Snapshot: Wide Receivers

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In the lead-up to training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of the wide receivers.

ANALYSIS

With the retirement of Julian Edelman, this position group continues to look for the next iteration of its passing attack. Free agent signings Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne are intriguing new options, as both are just entering their primes and coming off productive seasons. After spending most of his career as a slot option, Agholor broke out in 2020 as a deep threat, while Bourne was a versatile piece in Kyle Shanahan's offense and should have a similar role in Josh McDaniels'.

Jakobi Meyers had a breakout 2020 season with 59 catches and even threw two touchdowns despite not catching one. Meyers' continued development could make him a reliable option as he's quickly ascended to the most experienced receiver in the Patriots system. N'Keal Harry was better in his second season but had just 33 catches as he struggled to find consistency. His agent reportedly requested a trade this summer putting Harry's status up in the air.

Gunner Olszewski was an All-Pro as a punt returner, a skill that gives him a roster advantage but his development as a receiver continues to be something to monitor. A quick and sudden athlete, Olszewski's progress through his first two seasons has been remarkable and he was consistent in minicamp. Seventh-round pick Tre Nixon will have every opportunity to make an impact and win a job, with an injury during his final collegiate season hampering his draft status.

Isaiah Zuber and Kristian Wilkerson both got some valuable experience in 2020 as practice squad players who got their feet wet with some NFL game action, while Devin Smith was once a promising second-round pick, trying to recapture the magic he had coming out of Ohio State. Zuber had some standout catches in minicamp and could push for playing time. Devin Ross spent part of 2019 on the Patriots' practice squad and was with the team last summer, while Marvin Hall has 37 career receptions spending time with six different teams since 2016.

The acquisitions of Agholor and Bourne headline the offseason and their arrival should translate to an improved passing attack, but it's the development of the others in the group that could elevate the offense to new levels. How quickly the new faces assimilate will be a major storyline to watch in camp.

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