The wide receivers last year minus Julian Edelman, were a big problem for the Patriots. One of their big iflaws was reading the playbook. A good wide receiver isn’t born on a tree, it takes time and effort to develop into one and I believe Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins are ready to take off this year.
This off season, the Patriots made a big addition to their wide receive corps with the addition of Brandon LaFell. The 6’2” wide receiver is a play maker. Lets take a dive into New England’s wide receiver position in depth for the upcoming season.
After losing Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots knew they had to groom someone to be that play maker for Tom Brady last season and Edelman indeed was that guy. The Pro-Bowler has raw ability to make nothing into something and it a very important asset on the Patriots roster.
Last season, Edelman railed in 105 catches for 1,056 yards and really took over as one of the offense’s only playmakers. When Edelman had an off game last year it normally resulted in an L for New England. Expect a big year from arguably Brady’s favorite target.
My 2014 Julian Edelman Projection:
126(up 21) receptions, 1,2000(up 144) yards and 8(up 2) touchdowns
Note: He will also be a Pro-Bowler
I think the addition of LaFell is one of the more underrated ones that the Patriots made this off season. LaFell brings a big body who can fight for balls and make plays.
Early last season LaFell was one of the best wide receivers in the league and was making catch after catch. Against Minnesota, LaFell had 4 catches for 107 yards and a score for the Panthers.
My 2014 Brandon LaFell Projection:
55(up 6) receptions, 666(up 39) yards and 5(up 1) touchdowns
3) Aaron Dobson
I think Dobson will finally figure out the playbook and be a very effective receiver for New England next year. Dobson had great hands in college and did not get to show that last year. Foot injuries and lack of production last season really made him get phased out at the end of last season. I also think Dobson is more of a slot receiver, so when the right plays are called for him he will make them.
My 2014 Aaron Dobson Projection:
57(up 20) receptions, 600(up 41) yards and 3(down 1) touchdowns
Amendola had a real struggle last season staying on the field and learning the playbook as well. Amendola is considered very “fragile” as he had missed games throughout his career do to groin, foot, elbow and concussion injuries. I think Amendola is primed to have a good season this year and will surpise a lot of fans. He was brought in last season to replace Welker but didn’t do that at all. Expect a big year from Amendola.
My 2014 Danny Amendola Projection:
15 games, 75(up 21) receptions, 675(up 42) yards and 7(up 5) touchdowns
What a great option to have, Thompkins as your number five wide receiver. It could come into a predicament as Thompkins will want the ball more but I don’t believe he can have a consistent season. He has shown sings of big play potential especially when he pulled in the game winner against the New Orleans Saints to give the Patriots the win with no time remaining.
The addition of LaFell will really decrease the amount of time Thompkins will see on the field.
My 2014 Kenbrell Thompkins Projection:
12 games, 33(up 1) receptions, 455(down 11) yards and 3(down 1) touchdowns
Slater is on here simply because he is needed for special teams and is listed as a wide receiver.
My 2014 Matthew Slater Projection: N/A
Wide Receivers on current roster who need to fight for their spot:
Patriots WR Depth Chart Grade and Reason: A
I give them an A at this position because I believe the players who didn’t know the playbook last season will have extra time to study it and should shine. Edelman is the top wide out in the group and continues to impress week in and week out. I expect a huge season from Danny Amendola and the addition of LaFell will make Thompkins fight for his playing time. When you have Tom Brady throwing to you it is kind of hard to have bad numbers anyway, just go in your spot and he’ll get you the ball.