The end of the line may be near for one of Tom Brady's all-time favorite targets, as Deion Branch will have to compete for a roster spot this offseason.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe labeled Branch as "unimpressive" after taking in the Patriots' second OTA last week. "The guy catches everything but his burst is diminishing," Bedard added.
Branch's burst is diminished, not diminishing. Regardless of his rapport with his signal-caller, he's got stiff competition to hold off this year. Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth and rookie Jeremy Ebert all join (or re-join) the fold and Chad Ochocinco will get another crack at it this year as well.
While not every one of them threaten Branch's specialized role, if their talents are deemed to be more valuable, they could easily threaten his roster spot. In that case, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater add pressure to Branch, too.