Patriots receiver drills figure to be pretty crowded this summer. With Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth, Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edelman and Anthony Gonzalez as the biggest names in the group, it should be one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL.
Welker joined WEEI this afternoon and explained how New England's cupboard full of receivers reminds him of the Patriots' record-setting 2007 season.
"I think it's great. It's competition," Welker said. "It's no different from Coach Belichick's philosophy in the past, and that's to sign guys to help the football team win games. Whatever is best for the team, he's going to do. I think there are guys that can really help and contribute for us.
"When you look at the '07 season, we had people like Kelley Washington. Donte' Stallworth. Jabar Gaffney. We had Reche Caldwell going into that year. Randy Moss. We were stacked with some pretty good receivers going into that year, and I feel like it's the same type of deal, stacking up, and finding out who can really contribute and who can really help us this coming year."
If this receiving group can perform anything like the one from New England's undefeated regular season five years ago, the Patriots will be a happy bunch. Tom Brady threw for a record 50 touchdown passes that season, while Randy Moss caught a record 23 of those scores. Welker had 112 receptions, while Stallworth and Gaffney finished with 46 and 36 catches, respectively.
Something the Patriots didn't have in 2007? A dynamic set of game-changing tight ends. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez figure to be major components in the Patriots offensive schemes again, meaning accomplished receivers like Gaffney, Branch, Stallworth and Ochocinco could be competing to be Brady's fourth or fifth option in the passing game.