New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Which Patriots Wide Receiver Is Likely the Odd Man Out?

As of right now, the New England Patriots have nine wide receivers on their current roster: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte’ Stallworth, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, Jeremy Ebert and Jesse Holley.

With roster cuts right around the corner, there is no way that the Patriots will be able to carry nine players in their wide receiver corps.

For starters, I’d like to think that it’s a no-brainer that Ebery and Holley don’t  make the team’s roster. Granted, they might have a shot at the team’s practice squad, but they’re not NFL-caliber talent at this point.

Welker and Lloyd are already locked-in, if you ask me. Welker is arguably the NFL’s most elite slot receiver while Lloyd looks to bring explosiveness to the team’s wide receiver corps, something that has been lacking for quite a while now.

As for Edelman and Slater—they’ll make this roster as well. Edelman is a solid receiver, but more importantly he is a great return man as well as being versatile enough to play on the defensive side of the ball. As for Slater, he’s one of the top special teams players in the NFL today. In fact, he was one of the team’s captains a year ago and you’d figure he’d be on the team’s 53-man roster in 2012.

With that being said, that leaves Gaffney, Stallworth and Branch on the roster bubble. Granted, all three of them are talented enough to earn themselves spots on an NFL roster, but I only see the Patriots be able to hold onto two.

Who will those two be?

I do see Gaffney making the 53-man roster, despite the fact that he’s been a little dinged up and simply hasn’t had as many reps as we were expecting—he just hasn’t separated himself from Stallworth and Branch for New England’s No. 3 wide receiver. However, Gaffney still has the capability to be productive and he already has a previous chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady.

With Gaffney being in, that leaves it up to either Branch and Stallworth—which to be honest with you, I don’t even know where to start.

Both Branch and Stallworth have had impressive moments throughout training camp and the preseason, but unfortunately, one of them has to go.

Branch is the veteran of this group and has been one of Brady’s go-to-receivers for quite a while now—so it will be hard to cut ties with him. In New England’s most recent game on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, Branch came up big as he reeled in three passes on four targets for 51 yards.

As for Stallworth, I would like to think he makes this roster—but the same could be said about Branch. Stallworth hasn’t really impressed on the field but he’s had very solid practices and it has been noted that he still has impressive speed for a guy his age.

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are in a tough position right now—but it’s not a bad position at all. It’s always a good problem to have too many players for one position as it will create a competition to drive the best out of each and everyone of them.

Now, I would like to ask you to get into the shoes of Bill Belichick and make the decision: Which wide receiver doesn’t make the cut?


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