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Sunday NFL Thoughts: Patriots wide receivers and injury history

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Did the Patriots draft the wrong receiver?

1. As New England Patriots 4th year wide receiver Aaron Dobson fights for roster bubble consideration, we have to point out that the San Diego Chargers just signed wide receiver Keenan Allen to a 4-year extension, valued at $45 million base, with up to $49 million if all incentives are reached.

Dobson was the Patriots pick at 59th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Chargers selected Allen 76th overall in 2013. Just imagine if the Patriots switched those picks. Hopefully Dobson can have a nice rebound season, if he remains with the Patriots.

2. Speaking of receivers, the Patriots cut ties with wide receiver Wes Welker prior to the 2013 season with Dobson in favor of Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. The decision ultimately worked out for the Patriots, but Welker is still deciding whether or not he should retire.

After the Patriots went in a different direction, Welker signed with the rival Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning. He has also spent the past couple of weeks serving as an adviser to the wide receivers for both the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens.

All that’s left is for Welker to help out the Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets and he’ll collect the whole set. Or maybe he’ll join the New York Giants and really make a statement.

3. Tight end Rob Gronkowski won’t make a statement about his absences at camp. Head coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the staff are actively keeping Gronkowski off the field, and the All Pro tight end told the media that he and the coaches “are all on the same page.”

I’m in favor of keeping Gronkowski in bubble wrap until week 1, especially after the season-ending injury to fellow tight end Michael Williams. Let’s watch Gronkowski strengthen his knees and lower body this offseason.

4. I’m curious to see how the Patriots strength and conditioning staff change up their processes in 2016 after turning over leadership. The Patriots opted to move away from Harold Nash in favor of his assistant Moses Cabrera, and for good reason. The website Man Games Lost tracks team injuries and the Patriots have suffered the third-most injuries in the NFL over the past five years.

In 2011 (25th), 2012 (29th), 2013 (29th), and 2015 (32nd), the Patriots ranked in the bottom ten NFL teams in health. In 2014, when the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they ranked around the league average in injuries. Just imagine how many titles the Patriots could have had if everyone remained healthy.

If Cabrera thinks players like Gronkowski need more time working on pliability in the weight room, then Gronkowski shouldn’t see the field. This team needs to be healthy.

5. We’ve already seen multiple serious injuries this offseason, beyond Patriots tight end Michael Williams. Saints pass rusher Hau’oli Kikaha tore his ACL, while Ravens sophomore 1st round wide receiver Breshad Perriman tore his ACL. Perriman suffered a knee injury last offseason, too, so his career might be over before it ever began.

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert needed ankle surgery that could force him out of the first few weeks of the 2016 season. Packers tight end Jared Cook needed foot surgery and could miss the whole offseason.

Let’s get all of the Patriots players healthy before throwing them on the field.