The New England Patriots’ wide receiver position has seen some turnover this offseason, but it still projects as somewhat of a question mark heading into 2023 — so much so that the team was seen as a candidate to select a wideout as early as the first round in the draft. That did obviously not happen, though.
The Patriots waited until Round 6 to double-dip at the position, adding Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas to the equation. Whether or not they will tip the scales remains to be seen, but at the moment there is limited optimism about the group as a whole.
Take ESPN analyst Mike Clay, who recently shared his wide receiver group rankings. The Patriots’ top five check in at No. 25:
25 - New England Patriots - JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Kayshon Boutte
Clay has JuJu Smith-Schuster and second-year man Tyquan Thornton as the top two wideouts on the depth chart. Given that the team has not even started the full-team portion of offseason workouts, however, that is more projection than anything else.
What is more interesting, though, is where the Patriots rank relative to some other receiving corps around the NFL. And one interesting name comes just behind them at No. 26: the Kansas City Chiefs.
26 - Kansas City Chiefs - Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice, Justin Watson
The reigning Super Bowl champions are also not seen as having a top-notch receiving group. What they do have, however, is the league’s best quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) and one of the NFL’s best play-designers and -callers (Andy Reid).
Mac Jones suddenly advancing to Patrick Mahomes-like levels of play seems unlikely, but the addition of veteran coordinator Bill O’Brien should at last help make up for some of the shortcomings at wide receiver.