The last two years have seen drafts filled with productive receivers. Several rookies made huge impacts a year ago, and many experts believe this year's crop may be nearly as strong as that group. Yet despite that talent available and plenty of picks to use, Bill Belichick chose not to delve into the mix other than using a 2014 seventh-round pick on Jeremy Gallon, who was waived after training camp.
That either means the coach is comfortable enough with the top of his receiver depth chart, which includes three mainstays in Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and the suddenly resurgent Danny Amendola, or he's confident that one of the others will emerge into a more prominent role in 2015 to provide some insurance.
In terms of the latter possibility, there are plenty of options. Brian Tyms arrived during camp last summer and stuck around all year despite opening the campaign by serving a four-game suspension. He didn't make many impact plays, but his presence ahead of Aaron Dobson was noteworthy nonetheless.
Speaking of Dobson, the third-year pro is coming off an injury-filled season that ended with him on injured reserve with a hamstring problem. He's healthy now and looking to reclaim the promise he showed as a rookie.
Also, veteran Brandon Gibson was signed as a free agent and could provide some depth in the slot alongside Edelman and Amendola. Injuries have sidetracked him in recent seasons but Gibson has been productive in the league.
The last candidate would appear to be Josh Boyce, who spent most of last season on the team's practice squad.
Those are the options to this week's question, which is: Which secondary receiver will make the biggest impact in 2015?
PFW's Andy Hart says …
After playing a complementary role for the Patriots as a part-time deep threat a year ago, Tyms could be poised for a similar or even slightly increased role in 2015.
Throughout the spring Tyms has worked in a group that included Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. That has to be a good sign. He also has a nice, proven rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo, which could be a boon for him and the offense early in the season.
Lately, Tyms has been taking a lot of reps working as a gunner on the punt team. If he can secure a job in that area it would be a big boost to his roster value and chances of serving as an option as an extra receiver. Tyms is also the most likely deep threat on a team that lacks a guy in that area. It looks like it could still be Tyms time in New England.
PFW's Paul Perillo says …
Things have admittedly not gone smoothly for Dobson during his two years in New England. But I believe this will be the year he puts it all together and becomes a consistent contributing as a complementary piece of the offense.
Dobson has dealt with injuries during his career and now is completely healthy. He took part fully in the spring camps and was actively involved with the offense, catching plenty of passes from both Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady, the latter of which is key considering the lack of rapport the two have shown at times in the past.
The former second-round pick has the size, speed and strength to become a piece of the puzzle, and now he seems to be mentally up to speed with the offense and more importantly, the way the Patriots operate. Dobson may not light it up in 2015 but he will establish himself as a consistent secondary option for Brady.