In just a little over a week, the New England Patriots’ 2022 training camp will officially commence. Fear not my fellow Pats fans, football is on the horizon. The dog days of summer are nearly over, and roster prediction season is officially upon us.
During this time I’ll be breaking down my Patriots roster predictions position by position. Only 53 men will remain in the end. I’ll be doing my best to figure out who those men left standing will be. Be sure to be following Guy Boston Sports to follow along with this series!
Since the N’Keal Harry trade is still relatively fresh on fans’ minds, I figured I’ll start this series with the wide receiver room. This is a group that’s seen a lot of change over the past couple seasons. Aside from Jakobi Meyers, everyone has been in New England for one season or less.
It’s honestly pretty crazy to think that Meyers, who was signed as an UDFA in 2019, is the longest tenured receiver on the team. It just goes to show how much change this core has gone through in such a short time frame.
As it currently stands, New England will have 10 receivers on the roster coming into training camp. It’s technically 11 if you count special teams star Matthew Slater. However, we all know Slater will not be lining up at receiver much, if any at all. I’m expecting the Patriots to hang on to five receivers when all said and done.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at who those five will be.
This one was an easy one. DeVante Parker was the premier skill position player that New England picked up in the offseason. He was the Patriots’ answer to lacking a top flight receiver. You can argue he isn’t exactly a top weapon, but the reality is he’s an upgrade over what New England had prior.
When healthy, he has the potential to be a serious weapon for the offense. Parker can give young QB Mac Jones the kind of game changing receiver he lacked last season. His skillset checks off a lot of the boxes that the Pats were looking for.
DeVante Parker, my goodness! pic.twitter.com/9BpxYtrs9J— Sports Notes (@TheSportsNotes) September 8, 2019
His health is the largest concern, but this one’s a no brainer. Not only does he make the roster, but he’s probably the WR1 for the Patriots in 2022.
This one was another easy one. Kendrick Bourne was a pleasant surprise last season for the Patriots. By the end of the season, he was Mac’s most trusted receiver. The chemistry between them was apparent, so it’s important to keep that going in 2022.
Bourne had a career year with New England in 2021. He went for career highs in receptions (55), receiving yards (800), and touchdowns (5). He will look to improve upon all those numbers in 2022 with a larger role in the offense.
Parker should also help Bourne out quite a bit. His presence should open up the field more for Bourne to work. We saw what he could do last season when the Patriots seemed almost fearful to throw the football. If they are more daring this year, Bourne will really be able to showcase to the entire league what he is capable of.
Another receiver who seems like a sure thing to make the team. As mentioned before, he is the longest tenured receiver on the Pats. He’s become a reliable target in New England, someone that Mac clearly trusted.
Similar to Bourne, he and Mac quickly built some solid chemistry in 2021. He provided Mac with a quick safety blanket in the slot. He’s adopted the Julian Edelman role in the offense as the guy who just finds a way to get open.
JAKOBI MEYERS BREAKS HIS TD CURSE!!!— Boston Diehards (@Boston_Diehards) November 14, 2021
Also similar to Bourne, Meyers is coming off a career year in New England. Meyers also went for career highs in receptions (83), yards (866), and touchdowns (2). He’s developed into one of the best surprises across the entire NFL, not just New England. Expect more of the same from Meyers in 2022.
Tyquan Thornton (R)
Tyquan Thornton was a surprising pick by New England in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. Some viewed him as a reach, and not many had him slotted to end up in Foxborough. That being said, he is a necessary addition for the Patriots. He’s the type of deep threat New England has been sorely lacking.
In the short term, he’s more of a project pick for the team. I don’t expect him to have a huge role in the offense or receive a ton of targets this season. He’s a raw prospect coming out of Baylor, and has some work to do before he can make an impact.
He shined in college during his senior season, putting up over 900 yards and 10 touchdowns. His most dangerous asset is his speed, which he showcased with a 4.28 40 yard dash at the combine. He was the fastest receiver in the draft, something that obviously caught the Patriots’ eyes.
Tyquan Thornton 4.21 40. fast turf in Indy pic.twitter.com/jjuvID7Eqd— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) March 4, 2022
Although there is much work to be done, Thornton is a lock to make the roster. You don’t invest a 2nd round pick on someone you expect to dump in just a few months time. His role will be small, but he’ll be there.
This is really the first surprise of this list. The first four receivers mentioned were all pretty much guaranteed to make the team. Who the fifth receiver would be, or if they’d keep a fifth receiver, was the big question here.
Ty Montgomery is my pick for that last spot. He just makes sense in New England. Montgomery is a typical Belichickian player. He’s a vet, who’s been in the league since 2015. He’s played for smart coaches like Sean Payton and John Harbaugh. Played alongside elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, and Drew Brees. Montgomery comes with plenty experience.
Most importantly, he’s an extremely versatile player. There is nothing Belichick loves more than guys who can play across multiple positions and schemes. Montgomery can play receiver, running back, and can contribute on special teams.
It’s that versatility that gives him the edge here to make the final roster. Think how the Patriots used Cordarrelle Patterson in 2018. A swiss army knife that can be used in a multitude of ways. He may not be the most talented guy on the team, but he is a great fit for Belichick.
Who Missed The Cut
The most notable name here is of course Nelson Agholor. New England brought him in last offseason on an overpriced deal. Whether they trade or cut him, I’m expecting the Patriots to want out of that contract. He’s only under contract for this season, but that $14 million cap hit is hefty.
Agholor was a big disappointment last season for the Patriots. Coming off a breakout season with the Raiders in 2020, Agholor was meant to add some serious talent to the WR room. That just wasn’t the case, as Agholor finished the year with just 37 receptions, 473 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
They also don’t really need his style of play anymore. The additions of Parker and Thornton nixed their need for another deep threat. Agholor is expendable now, and expect New England to cut bait and move on.
The others who will not make the cut are Tre Nixon, Malcolm Perry, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Kristian Wilkerson. All of these guys were a longshot to make the team. Humphrey and Wilkerson are the only two that have a relative chance to make the team. Some (like Nixon and Wilkerson) have a pretty good chance of being added to the practice squad.
So there you have it, the final 2022 Patriots WR room. Make sure to check back to GuyBostonSports.com for the rest of my predictions coming out soon!
Feature Photo by Winslow Townson/AP Images