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When it comes to wide receiver spot, it’s open season in New England

05.11.12 at 1:56 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots spent last year’€™s brief offseason loading up on defensive linemen, and as things continued into the regular season they sifted through those who could play and those who couldn’€™t. By the end of the season, they appeared to have a good mix of youth and experience along their front line.

It appears New England is doing the same thing this offseason when it comes to the wide receiver spot. Since the start of free agency, the Patriots have loaded up at an already deep spot, and at the start of rookie minicamp on Friday, the Patriots have 12 receivers on the roster (including veteran Wes Welker, who has yet to sign his franchise tender).

This offseason, New England has picked up free agents Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte’€™ Stallworth and Anthony Gonzalez to go along with Welker, Deion Branch, Chad Ochocinco, Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Britt Davis, all of whom were already on the roster. In addition, they have rookies Jeremy Ebert (a seventh-round pick) and Matt Roark (an undrafted free agent).

After hearing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday, it appears that the competition for playing time at wide receiver this year will be conducted in much the same manner as the process for the defensive line last season.

‘€œIt’€™s going to be an exciting thing for us to watch and see how it all develops, because we have some guys that can do some different things,’€ McDaniels said Friday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

‘€œI think that makes for great competition. I know every year, we talk about having great competition at every spot, and the receiver position is certainly going to be filled with that. We have a ton of guys here, working hard and making sure they’€™re ready for [organized team activities] in the spring. We’€™re going to give them all an opportunity. I don’€™t think you want to assume too many things. Let them go back out there and demonstrate what they know, what they can do, what they can provide our team, and let the competition play out.’€

One new guy McDaniels has a history with is Lloyd, who played for McDaniels in Denver and St. Louis. Lloyd was very open in professing his devotion for New England’€™s offensive coordinator, and McDaniels returned the compliment in kind on Friday.

‘€œHe’€™s a guy I’€™m familiar with from the last few years,’€ McDaniels said. ‘€œHe gives us an outside receiver to compete with a lot of the guys that we have here.

‘€œBrandon is certainly a guy who is familiar with our system, first of all. He understands what we ask of the receiver position. He’€™s brought a skill set on the outside, on the perimeter, that has definitely been helpful to the offenses that I’€™ve had a part in the last few years,’€ McDaniels added. ‘€œHow he fits in, and what we end up doing with him along with the other receiving corps, we’€™ll find out as we go through the spring and the summer. I’€™m excited to have an opportunity to coach him again.’€

Read More: Josh McDaniels, Wes Welker,
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