Patriots 2013 position preview: Wide Receiver/Tight End

Patriots rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins turned plenty of heads this summer.  Credit: Getty Images
Patriots rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins turned plenty of heads this summer. Credit: Getty Images

Wes Welker is doing his thing with the Broncos. Aaron Hernandez is doing time in jail. Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch are waiting for their phones to ring.

The Patriots receiving corps is much different – and somewhat of a question mark – going into the 2013 season.

First, the best news: Rob Gronkowski wasn’t placed on the physically unable to perform list, which would have kept him out for at least the first six games of the season. After four surgeries on his arm and one surgery on his back, he’s now practicing in pads with the team.

It’s doubtful Gronkowski suits up for the Pats Week 1 against the Bills (1 p.m., CBS), but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him back on the playing field soon. For now, Bill Belichick calls his situation “day-to-day,” as Gronk takes the steps necessary for a return.

Aside from the team’s big free agent acquisition in slot receiver Danny Amendola, the Patriots receivers are largely young and unproven. If Amendola can stay healthy – and that hasn’t been easy for him over the years – he could put up Wes Welker-like numbers, already seeming to have great chemistry with Tom Brady.

Even so, young receivers will have to step up to make up for the aforementioned key losses. Undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, out of Cincinnati, has proven to be capable. Thompkins finished the preseason with 15 receptions for 164 yards, and appeared to be Brady’s favorite target – especially when Amendola was off the field.

He’ll be joined on the roster by fellow rookie wide receivers Josh Boyce, out of Texas Christian, and Aaron Dobson, out of Marshall. Dobson’s 6-foot-3 frame gives him a height advantage over some defensive backs – something Brady can certainly take advantage of.


“They’re all anxious to get started,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said of the rookies. “They’ve got an enthusiasm about them. They’re all three capable of playing in our offense. We’ve already moved them and played multiple roles, multiple positions with them, which in our system is a really big plus for us to have some flexibility with those guys.”

Julian Edelman and Matt Slater return to the team for their fifth and sixth seasons, respectively.

One more undrafted rookie, tight end Zach Sudfeld, stood out on the offensive side of the ball in preseason. He looks to play the role of Hernandez and will see plenty of snaps with or without Gronkowski out there. Michael Hoomanawanui is the third tight end for New England.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…

Style

Fall 2014 trend: lilac

Push those gray and black sweaters aside and make room for blush and lilac.

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…