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New England Patriots Links 6/20/12 - Wide Receiver Battle Revisited

<em>Jabar Gaffney runs for a pass - and a roster spot - at minicamp</em>.
Jabar Gaffney runs for a pass - and a roster spot - at minicamp.

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.