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4. Chris Harper
Harper’s saving grace yesterday was twofold: the Patriots’ decision to place injured wide receiver Brandon LaFell on the PUP and the release of retirement home-destined Reggie Wayne.
Like Lewis, Harper has a finite amount of time to prove his worth. When LaFell returns from the PUP, it will either be him or Aaron Dobson who gets demoted to the practice squad unless the Patriots decide to downgrade a player from another position.
Throughout the preseason, Harper has looked like he belongs in New England. The undrafted rookie out of Cal has high-pointed balls and consistently been in the right places, regardless of who’s been throwing to him.
Here are highlights of Harper’s outstanding performance against USC last season in which he caught nine balls for 60 yards and a touchdown. Note Harper’s impressive after-catch ability, a trait that should serve him well in the pros.
The opportunity is there for Harper to make some noise early in the 2015 regular season. He’s a largely unknown quantity for opposing defenses, and it’s not like Dobson is going to stand in the way of Harper blossoming into a surprise star. Don’t be surprised if Harper is the No. 3 receiver behind Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola in a few weeks.
Next: 3. David Andrews