Deion Branch Coming Back Makes Pats Wide Receivers Best in the League

Pranav TadikondaCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2012

Deion Branch was the final piece in making the Pats WRs truly elite.
Deion Branch was the final piece in making the Pats WRs truly elite.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Patriots put together the final piece of the puzzle in improving their wide receiver corp by re-signing veteran Deion Branch

Adam Schefter‏ reports via Twitter that the Pats and Deion Branch have agreed to a one-year deal. 

This puts the finishing touches on an offense that looks to be unstoppable. 

After the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Pats found themselves extremely thin at the wide receiver position. Wes Welker and Branch were both free agents, and there wasn't much else beyond those two players on the depth chart. Chad Ochocinco came into New England with high expectations, but he never lived up to the hype.

Bill Belichick hit free agency out of the park at wide receiver by retaining Wes Welker for one more year, signing deep threat Brandon Lloyd and now re-signing Deion Branch. He also brought in a few role players such as Donte Stallworth and Anthony Gonzalez.

Welker had over 1,500 receiving yards on 122 receptions last year, while Deion Branch amassed just over 700 yards.

However, the Patriots lacked a big-play wide receiver. Enter Brandon Lloyd.

Lloyd had an outstanding 2010 season, amassing 1,448 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He followed that up in 2011 with nearly 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. Lloyd runs crisp routes, is disciplined and has the ability to make spectacular plays.

Still, adding Lloyd wasn't enough. The Pats still needed a little more depth.

Enter Stallworth.

Stallworth was a member of the 2007 Patriots team that went 16-0 in the regular season and lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. In that season, he recorded 46 catches for nearly 700 yards and three touchdowns. He is on the roster bubble as of now, but that could change with a good training camp.

This Patriot wide receiving corp is the best in the league right now. They have talent and depth, the two most valuable commodities on any roster. 

The Patriots have gone above and beyond at the wide receiver position, bringing it from mediocre in 2011 to elite in 2012. 

Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and this group of wide receivers are going to be incredibly difficult to stop this year.