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Starters: Danny Amendola, TBD
Second String: Donald Jones, TBD
Third String: Kamar Aiken, Matthew Slater, Andre Holmes, Jeremy Ebert
Now that Wes Welker is a Denver Bronco and Brandon Lloyd has been released, wide receiver is clearly New England's most unsettled position.
For now, newly signed slot target Danny Amendola is leading off the depth chart. The 27-year-old got paid starter money to be what some have called "Wes Welker's replacement." Amendola really broke on to the scene with the St. Louis Rams in 2010, totaling 85 catches for 689 yards and three scores. But over the last two years, the once undrafted Texas Tech Red Raider has played in just 12 games due to upper-body injuries.
Amendola projects as the No. 1 "Z" receiver, but the team's No. 1 "X" receiver is probably not currently on the roster. The spot where Lloyd used to roam could soon be revamped with a younger field-stretcher. The Patriots could address this by investing a Day 1 or Day 2 draft pick in a receiver, or perhaps by trading a third-round pick for Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders.
Assuming another pass-catcher enters the fold, that leaves the freshly signed Donald Jones and current free agent Julian Edelman as the No. 3 and No. 4 receivers.
The 25-year-old Jones caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns for Buffalo last season. He has a physical 6', 208-pound body and can fill in as the "X" receiver. The 26-year-old Edelman has been on the market for a while and remains unsigned, which may indicate a return to New England as a backup slot receiver and punt returner.
This would leave Kamar Aiken, Matthew Slater, Andre Holmes and Jeremy Ebert as the third-stringers.
The 23-year-old Aiken was active for one game with the Patriots in 2012, but did not record a catch. Mathew Slater may be a wide receiver, but his Pro Bowl efforts on special teams are what make him a roster lock. Andre Holmes, a 6'4", 223-pound ex-Dallas Cowboy has caught two passes in the league, but is an athletic option with practice squad experience. Lastly, 2012 seventh-round pick Jeremy Ebert fills out the depth chart, but could move up with an impressive summer.