FOXBORO, Mass. — If the New England Patriots’ wide receivers can win reps in practice, they’ll have a good chance of succeeding against any team in the NFL.
The Patriots might not have the best starting secondary in the NFL, but it would be difficult to find a deeper group of defensive backs on one roster. The Patriots have one of, if not the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Darrelle Revis. They also have quality players surrounding him like All-Pro safety Devin McCourty, Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner and talented young players like Duron Harmon, Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard.
Starting wide receiver Julian Edelman isn’t afraid of the top competition he’ll have to face during practice this season, and he said Wednesday during the Patriots’ Play 60 event at Igo Elementary School in Foxboro that he hopes it will only make his group better.
“No,” Edelman said emphatically when asked if he was sick of lining up across from Revis after one day of organized team activities. “Revis, Browner, McCourty, (Kyle) Arrington, Dennard, all of these guys, it’s only going to make everyone better, including our corps with the receivers. You like going against guys that are very, very good. If you don’t you’re in the wrong business. If you can get open on guys like that, it’s only going to make you better on Sundays.”
The Patriots hope to see improvement out of their young wide receivers, second-year pros Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce. The Patriots added veteran free agent Brandon LaFell and seventh-round pick Jeremy Gallon to the group that also should include former Rutgers wideout Mark Harrison, who spent the entire 2013 season on the non-football injury list.
The Patriots hope at least one of those six players will emerge as a starter next to Edelman and Danny Amendola, who is entering his second season with the team.
Edelman said he worked out with Brady “a few times” this offseason, but that he’s excited to see all of his teammates again.
“It’s good to be back with everyone. Seeing KT, Dobson, Boyce, Danny, adding the new guys, it’s just good to be around your teammates,” Edelman said. “We spend a lot of time together. You get sick of each other during the end of the year, but once you’re gone away from each other, you miss your guys. Now we’re back, so now we’re just trying to make each other better.”
The Patriots’ wide receiver corps certainly is deep, but it lacks the top-end talent of New England’s secondary. Perhaps some tough competition against some of the best in the league in practice can solve that issue as one of the young players emerges out of training camp in the “X” receiver role.”