New England Patriots Positional Preview: Wide Receiver

Matt ConstantCorrespondent IMay 26, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13:  Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots catches a touchdown pass against the defense of Ty Law #22 and Kerry Rhodes #25 of the New York Jets, sending the game to overtime at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Jets won 34-31 in overtime. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In this New England Patriots positional breakdown, I will be evaluating the depth at wide receiver.

Sam Aiken is coming into his second year with the team.

I see him as a special teams guy or a last resort on the roster, considering that in his seven-year career, he only has 27 receptions with 351 yards and no touchdowns.

Don't expect Aiken to have a large impact on special teams like Kelley Washington did last year.

Tyree Barnes is an undrafted rookie receiver from Navy. I expect him to be on special teams as well, and that is pushing it.

He will probably be placed on the practice squad.

The next receiver on my list is my favorite Patriots receiver at the moment, Julian Edelman.

He has so much potential, being a converted quarterback. He has great speed, good hands, and he was a starting quarterback at Kent State. Expect him to, hopefully, have a large influence on the team this year.

Now to the oldest receiver on the Patriots' roster, Joey Galloway. People called him washed up and to old to play football.

Galloway still has blazing-fast speed, but his hands have suffered after so many years of playing. I expect him to be a 40 or under catch guy this season and no special teams.

The Patriots acquired Greg Lewis through a trade with Philadelphia. Lewis has been a somewhat productive receiver in the past, with his best season being in 2005 when he had 48 receptions.

I expect him to be a slot receiver and have low, but still productive, numbers.

Now to the best receiver on the Patriots, Randy Moss. I expect him to get significantly more receptions this season than last season.

Welker was Cassel's go-to guy, and he usually ignored Moss because he was doubled. With Brady coming back, he can thread the needle and get the ball to Moss whenever he needs to.

Do not expect a record-breaking season, but I suspect he will make another Pro Bowl.

Terrence Nunn is a rookie out of Nebraska. I have never seen him play, and after doing a little research, I believe he will be low on the roster and might be on special teams or the practice squad.

Robert Ortiz is in his second season out of San Diego State and should have a few receptions, but nothing that will be amazing.

Matthew Slater is coming into his second season and hopefully will become more comfortable with the Patriots system.

With Ellis Hobbs gone, Slater will get more returns, and he will most likely be restricted to special teams because of the depth of the Patriots roster.

Slater has exceptional speed, and he can hold onto the ball, even after hard hits. He has lost it a few times, but hopefully he can rebound from that.

Brandon Tate was one of the Patriots' steals in the draft. He failed a drug test in the combine, and that severely hurt his draft stock. Many people expected him to be drafted in the first or second round.

He can do work on special teams, and he can catch the ball. Expect a good, solid season out of Tate, as long as he can stay healthy.

Wes Welker will probably be one of the top-five players in receptions this season. He is a reliable option and always seems to be open.

Brady will get the ball to him a lot when the other WRs are not available. If Brady's injury is still effecting him or if he is not 100 percent and Kevin O'Connell is forced to perform, then Welker still will be the No. 1 option. He always does seem to be open.

Finally, Shun White is another rookie out of Navy who I expect will be on special teams or practice squad.


Overall, I think the Patriots have one of the best and deepest wide receiver corps in the league. Welker and Moss are one of the best wide receiver tandems, if not the best, in football.

I expect Brady to have a lot of options to throw to this season.