We're breaking down the personnel and pecking order at each position as the Patriots prepare to open camp this week.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Brandon LaFell, Matthew Slater, Jeremy Gallon, Wilson Van Hooser, Derrick Johnson
Crowded group here. Edelman will likely start the season as Brady's top target in this bunch after he broke the 100-catch and 1,000-yard marks last season. Those two showed great chemistry in timing during OTAs and minicamp, and there's no reason to think that won't continue when camp starts this week. Amendola is healthy, and if he can stay that way he should see a significant bump in his numbers from last season. If the first half of Week 1 in Buffalo last year was any indication as to what the Patriots have in him, he'll have plenty of room to work in the middle of the field alongside Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. Dobson's on the PUP list to start training camp after undergoing foot surgery in March. Whenever he gets on the field, he'll be a candidate to make a significant leap from his first year to his second. At 6-foot-3, his length is unmatched at this position on this roster. LaFell has versatility to play anywhere from the slot to the outside, making him a sort of super-utility insurance policy if and when one of the many injury-prone pass-catchers in this group goes down. Boyce seemed to suffer some kind of lower-body ailment during minicamp and wasn't seen again by media members, but he hasn't yet been placed on the PUP list meaning he could be good to go Thursday. He gives the Pats yet another undersized burner who could chip in as a return man if they need one. Thompkins was plagued by injuries and drops last season, but he ended up as one of the most productive receivers among last year's banged-up group. Along with LaFell, he'll give Brady a good-sized target while Dobson heals up. Slater is the team's best special teamer, along with Stephen Gostkowski, and likely won't factor much into the passing game. Gallon was a seventh-round choice out of Michigan and has experience at multiple spots, but he may be on the outside looking in at the final roster if the team decides to only take seven from this group. Van Hooser and Johnson are undrafted rookies who showed good hands in minicamp while working with rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. For them, getting much consideration after the first round of cuts will be tough.