New England Patriots: 3 interesting position battles on offense

Mac Jones #50 watches teammate Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #50 watches teammate Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Jakobi Meyers #16 and Isaiah Zuber #19 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /

We are officially less than a month away from the New England Patriots Week 1 contest against the Miami Dolphins. With each passing day, excitement continues to build up in New England about the start of a new football season.

With training camp now in the rearview mirror for the most part, and preseason games starting to roll in, we have a new lens to view some of New England’s bountiful position battles. After a busy offseason, there is a ton of competition up and down the roster, which is eventually going to force coach Bill Belichick into some tough decisions.

Offensively, the Patriots are fielding an almost completely different unit from last season. After having virtually no weapons for quarterback Cam Newton to throw to last season, New England focused on revamping the offense to make sure that couldn’t be an excuse this time around.

Now, the Patriots have an abundance of options at just about every position on offense, which is a good problem to have. With the position battles heating up, let’s take a look at the three most interesting battles on the offensive side of the ball.

New England Patriots position battle No. 3: Wide receivers

It’s amazing how things can change in just a few months. Last season, the Pats wide receiver core was basically reduced to Jakobi Meyers and Damiere Byrd, with N’Keal Harry and Gunner Olszewski chipping in every once in awhile. While New England didn’t necessarily upgrade this position as much as they did others, it is still much better off than last season.

The two big additions are Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, who, along with Meyers, are roster locks at this point. The position battle at wide receiver rages on behind them however, as Harry and Olszewski are competing with Kristian Wilkerson, Tre Nixon, Isaiah Zuber, and Devin Ross.

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Nixon, Zuber, and Ross all profile as potential practice squad candidates. Zuber saw game action last season, but that was really just a sign of New England’s lack of depth rather than his readiness. Nixon and Ross are both guys who have potential, but need some time to be groomed. All three could end up being squeezed off the roster when things are said and done.

That leaves Harry, Wilkerson, and Olszewski. Olszewski probably has an inside track for a roster spot due his special teams prowess, although he isn’t the receiver that Harry and Wilkerson are. Both Harry and Wilkerson had phenomenal training camps, although Wilkerson vastly outperformed Harry in the preseason opener.

Seeing how the bottom half of the receiver depth chart shakes out is one of the more interesting storylines to follow as the preseason action continues. There will probably end up being five or six guys on the 53 man roster, with Harry or Wilkerson among the possible tough cuts Belichick has to make. Ultimately, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pats roll with six guys at this position group, but that means they would have trim another position group, which may not be worth it.