With some down time before training camp, we're inspecting the Patriots roster position by position. Today, an examination of wide receivers.
LOCKS: Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan
BUBBLE: Jordan Matthews, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson, Malcolm Mitchell
LONG SHOTS: Braxton Berrios, Cody Hollister, Riley McCarron
BREAKDOWN: Obviously there will be more than two wide receivers on the 53-man roster, but there are questions about everyone after Edelman and Hogan, and the former will sit the first four games due to his suspension.
If Mitchell is healthy he moves to the lock category. He has shown the ability to get open and catch the ball when on the field, but that hasn't been a regular occurrence in his brief career. He likely would stay in some capacity even if he's not healthy, but his status is uncertain.
Matthews is the most accomplished of the bubble boys and should be able to win a spot. Britt and Dorsett appeared much more comfortable during the spring than they did last season. With some added time in the system both could carve out roles, Britt on the outside and Dorsett in the slot. Patterson hasn't shown much as a receiver in his career but the team loves his play-making ability as a returner and could find ways to get the ball in his hands on offense as well.
Beyond that, the rest are fighting long odds. Berrios and McCarron are true slot options while Hollister is behind the pack on the outside. The practice will include at least one of these three, perhaps more.