Jeff Howe charts the hierarchy at the wide receiver position, as he sees it shaking out.
Roster Locks: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
Quick Hit: Both have been tremendous in camp. Lloyd looks like the real deal.
Near Locks: Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney
Quick Hit: Tom Brady might go ballistic if someone cuts Branch. That might be true, to a lesser extent, with Gaffney.
Tight Squeeze: Donte Stallworth, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater
Quick Hit: Edelman has been very impressive in camp, and he’s a valued punt returner. Stallworth looks good so far. Slater has been injured, and it would certainly be surprising if the Patriots parted with last year’s special teams captain, but they’re deep with special teams aces, too. Right now, I’ve got these there competing for one or two spots, pending the health of players at other positions.
Odd Men Out: Britt Davis, Jeremy Ebert, Jesse Holley, Matt Roark
Quick Hit: Davis spent part of last season on the Pats’ practice squad, and that could be Ebert’s destination this year if he slips through waivers.
Christopher Price sees the wide receiver position this way:
Wide receiver (6): Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth.
First five are no-brainers, with Edelman’s special teams value clinching his spot. Tough call here with the addition of Stallworth, but his work as a kick returner lands him the final spot on the roster. Not that it’s a secure spot -- he could get bumped if an extra body is needed anywhere else. (Particularly on the offensive line.) Rookie Jeremy Ebert lands on the practice squad.
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- PFW in Progress - The PFW crew breaks down all the latest news and notes on the New England Patriots. (2 hour program)
- Jeff Howe looks at the competition between longtime friends and rivals Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth.
- Christopher Price presents an absurdly early look at what the 53-man roster might looks like.
- Mike Reiss notes K.C. Joyner ("The Football Scientist") uses metrics to show the Patriots will have the "most improved" defense in 2012.
- Christopher Price takes a look at what the Patriots' AFC rivals are doing this offseason: Buffalo Bills.
- Phil Perry reports rookie DE Jake Bequette's contract numbers have bee released: A four-year deal worth $2.654 million dollars.
- Greg A. Bedard reports the Welker party incident in Aspen was 'completely overblown'. The NY Post exaggerated a non-story? So hard to believe.
- Rich Levine says there's nothing cooler than a two-sport professional athlete and offers some suggestions at which Boston athletes should take a crack at it.
- Shalise Manza Young (Sporting News) New England Patriots camp outlook: Belichick wants to see summer edge.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) AFC offseason grades: Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos join New England Patriots at head of class.
- Bucky Brooks (NFL.com) NFL's best tight end: Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham? Gronk gets a slight nod.
- Video (Pro Football Weekly) One-on-one: Two Gs - Rob Gronkowski vs. Jimmy Graham.
- John Clayton (ESPN) 2012 AFC wins: More or less. Patriots 12-4.
- James Walker (EPSN) AFC East: More or less. Commentary on John Clayton's 12-4 expectation for the Patriots in 2012.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Overrated-underrated.
- John Clayton (ESPN) Unfinished business: Battle over guarantees delays signings of some top draft picks.
- Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) NFL players get schooled at Broadcasting Boot Camp. Troy Brown shares his thoughts on the process.
- John Clayton (ESPN) The 4-3 defense is gaining popularity.
- Peter King (SI) 'Overwhelming evidence' shared with reporters in Saints case.