New England Patriots rookie wide receiver is behind the eight-ball after suffering an injury earlier in the offseason.
One of the positions garnering the most attention in New England Patriots camp thus far is at wide receiver. Just a few months ago it looked like the Patriots were loaded with depth at the position. However, things have changed recently.
Veteran Julian Edelman will be sidelined for the first four games of the season because of a suspension. Malcolm Mitchell was unable to get healthy and was released. Jordan Matthews was also hurt and subsequently released.
What looked like a position of strength is now one filled with question marks. Veteran Eric Decker was signed last week, but it is anyone’s guess what he will bring to the table. Was last season’s down performance because of age or was the vanilla, run-first offense run by the Tennessee Titans a bigger reason?
Given the current state of the wide receiver corps, young players will have an opportunity to perform. One of those players, presumably, is 2018 sixth-round pick, Braxton Berrios.
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Berrios is a prototypical Patriots’ receiver. He is not afraid to do the dirty work and gets it done over the middle of the field. However, an injury earlier in the offseason has Berrios fighting an uphill battle.
Not being able to get on the field in the spring has put Berrios behind the eight-ball. Despite needing help in the slot, he is, at best, third on New England’s depth chart for slot duties.
"After missing most of the spring with an undisclosed injury, the sixth-round pick from the University of Miami has been working mostly behind McCarron to this point. He is similar to McCarron in that he plays the slot and returns punts, and seems to have a top-notch attitude and approach."
In addition to McCarron, Decker is presumably ahead of Berrios as well despite only being signed last week. The versatile Phillip Dorsett could also be working his way into the lineup as he is looking better in his first full offseason with the organization.
Berrios is in a direct battle with McCarron. They are virtually the same size, as both are listed at 5’9″ with McCarron weighing in at 198 pounds and Berrios weighing 190. Both also contribute on special teams as punt returners.
Expect to see a lot of Berrios in the preseason. The Patriots coaching staff knows what they have in the veteran players. Getting into game action will help Berrios climb the depth chart and show what he can do on the field.