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Patriots work out four wide receivers in light of Julian Edelman’s thumb injury

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New England is kicking the tires on some wideouts.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
In their struggle for a diverse roster, The Patriots search for receivers that don't require thumbs to catch the ball.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

With Julian Edelman reportedly missing around three weeks because of a thumb injury, the New England Patriots have decided to look at potential reinforcements at the wide receiver position: according to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team brought four free agents to Foxboro today to work them out. The Patriots, of course, have an open spot on their 90-man offseason roster — and one of the wideouts could be used to fill it.

WR Travin Dural

Dural originally joined the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted rookie signing by the New Orleans Saints. The LSU product has yet to have any major impact in the pros, however: he spent his rookie season on the practice squad before missing all of 2018 because of a broken humerus. Despite his first two seasons, however, Dural does bring some upside to the table: he has decent size at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, and has shown some reliable hands and solid in-game speed in college.

WR Justin Hunter

A former second-round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans, the six-year veteran does have some NFL production on his résumé but was never able to grow beyond a depth role. Last season, for example, the 28-year-old saw irregular playing time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and registered just 3 catches for 21 yards before a shoulder injury ended his season. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Hunter would add considerable size to New England’s group of perimeter receivers. It does not look like the Patriots will sign him, though, according to The Athletic’s Nick Underhill.

WR Papi White

The undrafted rookie out of Ohio originally began his NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was released by the team after its rookie minicamp. Since then, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound receiver remained on the open market — not for a lack of college production, however: White registered 62 catches for 987 yards and 9 touchdowns during his redshirt senior season. However, the slot receiver does have athletic limitations on top of being undersized.

WR Nick Williams

A journeyman who also has experience as a kickoff and punt returner, Williams caught just 30 passes for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns over his six seasons in the NFL. The 28-year-old, who last played for the Los Angeles Rams, does have experience playing from the slot and split out wide, though — a role that Julian Edelman plays for the Patriots. The two players’ success is of course not comparable, but Williams could serve as a stand-in/backup option for the Super Bowl MVP for the time being.