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State of the Patriots | WR

Patriots’ receiver competition starts at the bottom

Chris Hogan worked with the Patriots’ first-team offense all spring, though he’ll essentially be the team’s No. 3 wideout. Steven Senne/AP

Third in a series on the Patriots’ status at each position group heading into training camp.

The competition for the fifth receiver spot will be among the more competitive in camp. No matter who claims it, at least two established veterans out of Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington, and Aaron Dobson won’t make the cut.

The 5-foot-11-inch, 194-pound Martin gets the early nod because of his versatility as a receiver (he can play multiple roles) and value as a return man. It doesn’t hurt that he has a year in the system under his belt.

Though he ran in a similar offense in Houston, Washington’s inexperience in New England and the fact that the 6-1, 183-pounder is entering his 12th year in the league work against him.


Dobson (6-3, 205) was strong and steady during organized team activities and minicamp — often making standout plays — but he’s at a disadvantage in this fight because of his injury history (he has yet to play a full season) and the fact that he doesn’t play special teams.

Injuries could always change the picture, and if either Julian Edelman or Danny Amendola are slow to return to action, Dobson and/or Washington could snag a roster spot.

Edelman is the clear cut No. 1 receiver. He suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot in Week 10 last season but returned for the playoffs. He was back in a boot during the offseason but has since shed it. The 5-11, 200-pounder wasn’t on the field during the spring but should return during camp — possibly on Day 1.

Amendola returns after the most productive of his three seasons in Foxborough. The 5-11, 190-pounder took a pay cut for the second straight year and is rehabbing from offseason ankle and knee surgeries.

Another versatile receiver and core special teamer, Amendola was held out of on-field activities in the spring, but if his performance at Tom Brady’s Best Buddies charity game is any indication, he is progressing just fine.


Chris Hogan (6-1, 220) ran with the first team all spring and looked like a star in the making. Hogan has excellent size and showed off speed, quickness, and extremely sure hands. Sure, it wasn’t the real thing, but if Hogan looks this good when the real stuff starts, Brady and Patriots Nation will be giddy.

Malcolm Mitchell (6-1, 195) made more than his share of nifty catches during the spring. The rookie fourth-rounder looked athletic and acrobatic. He’s very well-read and has experience as a return man.

Second-year players DeAndre Carter and Chris Harper and rookie seventh-rounder Devin Lucien will need to turn some heads (they have that capability) to earn a place on the 53, but all are strong practice squad candidates.

Carter (5-8, 188) lacks size but is quick and fearless and has strong hands.

Harper (5-11, 185) and Lucien (6-2, 195) are childhood friends and were teammates at Crespi Carmelite High in California. They were often the last pairing off the field during the spring as they worked on their craft.

Harper has the advantage of being in the system and a special teamer. Lucien has excellent size and is coming off a stellar campaign in which he had 66 catches for 1,074 yards and 8 touchdowns in his only season at Arizona State after transferring from UCLA.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.