NFL Camp Competition (07/27/13)

By John Ewing
With NFL training camps underway we check in on a few key position battles around the league including NFL rookies. (2013 projections for rookies are based on this analysis which projects rookie seasons for all NFL prospects as if they were starters on average NFL teams).


 
There are many position battles occurring around the league. This series will look at some of the most prominent clashes occurring in NFL training camps. Previous competitions: Jets QBBills QBPackers RB, Rams RB
 
New England Patriots – Wide Receiver Competition
 
Incumbent: Julian Edelman
2012 stats – 21 Receptions, 235 Rec. Yds, 3 TDs
Danny Amendola will be the Patriots No. 1 receiver but Edelman has a good chance to be the second option if Rob Gronkowski misses time to start the season. Last year Edelman was briefly starting ahead of Wes Welker before a hand injury sidelined him. Edelman is starting behind the eight ball as he enters camp on the physically unable to perform list. If Edelman recovers fully from his foot injury he would be a valuable pickup in fantasy leagues.
 
Challenger: Aaron Dobson
2013 projections – 60.4 Receptions, 596.8 Rec. Yds
Dobson, a second-round pick, will be given the opportunity to start in the NFL his rookie season if he can impress during camp. Dobson was 44th in our receiver rankings heading into the draft but the Patriots apparently saw something we did not. It remains to be seen if Dobson turns out to be something special but with a quarterback like Tom Brady throwing him passes he should at least be serviceable receiver this fall.
 
Challenger: Josh Boyce
2013 projections – 63.5 Receptions, 766.3 Rec. Yds
The fourth-round pick out of TCU could see serious playing time after the departures of Welker and Brandon Lloyd. We rated Boyce as the 18th best receiver in this year’s draft. Boyce impressed at the Combine running a 4.38 forty with a foot injury. Though speed kills in the league the Patriots have seen other highly touted receivers (Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate) flame out early.

Challenger: Kenbrell Thompkins
2013 projections – 49.0 Receptions, 566.3 Rec. Yds
The undrafted free agent finds himself in a great position to not only make the Patriots final roster but also see playing time when the season begins. Thompkins, the former Cincinnati Bearcat, saw first-team reps in OTAs and minicamp.
 
Challenger: Michael Jenkins
2012 stats – 40 Receptions, 449 Rec. Yds, 2 TDs
The 10-year veteran out of Ohio State is currently listed first at the second wide receiver position on the Patriots’ depth chart. Yet, ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss reports that Jenkins is not likely to make the Patriots’ final roster.