Top 5 Probable Patriot Starting Wide Receivers


With the release of Tiquan Underwood yesterday, the New England Patriots have managed to whittle the number of wide receivers on their roster down to 11. I wanted to focus on the top 5 wide receivers (sorry Gronk) going into the 2012 season. Starting at our number one…

Wes Welker

Welker is currently holding out for a better contract, and I’ve gotta believe it’s going to happen. With NFL rules so in favor of the slot receiver, a guy like Wes is TOO valuable to the New England offense. With the signing of both Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd to help stretch the defense, Gronkowski & Hernandez will have to be accounted for on every play leaving a historically accurate Tom Brady and Welker to tear apart the middle of the field.

Welker’s ESPN Profile…

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Brandon Lloyd

Lloyd was the perfect acquisition to the New England offense. Brady has been missing a dangerous deep threat. Patriot FANS miss seeing Tom Terrific air one out to a streaking WR. This is what we’re going to see this year with Lloyd. He’s a physical receiver who can get off the line of scrimmage and has the strength to come down with the ball. He reminds me a lot of Terrell Owens or Vincent Jackson. We’ll be sure to see plenty more deep passes called by Coach Belichick this season.

Lloyd’s Yahoo Profile…

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Jabar Gaffney

If Brady gets overjoyed, he seemed it when Gaffney was brought back into the fold. He was upset the last few times Gaffney was a free agent and the Patriots didn’t make an effort to sign him. This was a good day for the receiving corps as it has reunites Tom Brady, Gaffney, Branch and McDaniels. All of these guys had a kind of synergy within this Patriots offense and play their roles to the ‘t’. Gaffney will give Brady another trusted receiver that can be a deep threat or do deep post patterns, further opening up the field.

Gaffney’s CBS Profile…

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Deion Branch

Maybe Brady’s MOST trusted receiver, this Superbowl MVP still has some miles left in this offense. His production was limited last year mainly because he was rarely open. Opposing defenses took him away as the only real deep threat in the arsenal. The 2012 Branch should be back to form, especially with the future of Kevin Faulk still in question. Brady will be looking for that third down yardage, and Branch is probably the BEST route runner of the bunch. He always seems to hold on to the ball when it matters, something that cannot be said of the remaining four.

Branch’s Fox Sports Profile…

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Chad Ochocinco

It’s make it or break it time for #85. He’s had an entire season to understand the playbook and get on the same page with Tom Brady. Elite (yeah, I believe Chad is elite) wide outs came at a premium this year, so the Patriots wouldn’t likely give him up for no reason. Chad was incredible when he was paired with Palmer on the Bengals. He always found a way to be open, deep. He has great footwork and breakaway speed making him so versatile in the offense. I think you’ll see a lot more screen plays toward Ocho this year and, depending if Brady trusts him, a lot more end zone opportunities.

Ochocinco’s NBC Sports Profile…

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