During Thursday’s show, former Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie and The Finsiders gave their thoughts on the wide receiver position across the division. Here’s an overview regarding wide receivers in the AFC East.
Projected Starters: Mike Wallace & Brian Hartline
Key Reserves: Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Jarvis Landry
Overview: The Dolphins come into the 2014 season likely with the deepest crop of receivers in the division, led by former Pro Bowler Mike Wallace and standout pass catcher Brian Hartline. The two combined for 149 receptions last year, for a total of 1,946 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. Behind them are reliable targets Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, and this year’s second-round draft pick Jarvis Landry. Gibson thrived in the slot last season until a knee injury cut his season short, and Matthews then took his place. Landry should compete for the slot position as well this upcoming training camp, as he’s been a favorite target of quarterback Ryan Tannehill during OTAs and minicamp.
New England Patriots
Projected Starters: Julian Edelman & Danny Amendola
Key Reserves: Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Brandon LaFell
Overview: With the exceptions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Tom Brady has rarely had true big name superstar receivers by his side during his career. This year follows that trend as well. New England’s projected starters include Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. While very productive players in terms of receptions, neither of the two are a big outside target, a role the Patriots have been looking to fill for quite some time. That role could fall to one of the Pats’ reserves in Kenbrell Thompkins or the 6’3 Aaron Dobson, or even free agent signing Brandon LaFell. LaFell spent his previous four seasons in the league with Carolina, caught 49 passes for 627 yards and touchdown last year.
New York Jets
Projected Starters: Eric Decker & Stephen Hill
Key Reserves: Jacoby Ford, Jeremy Kerley
Overview: The problems at wide receiver were well documented last season for the New York Jets. To remedy that situation, they went out and grabbed one of the biggest names on the free agent market in Eric Decker. Playing in Denver’s outstanding offense last season, Decker racked up 87 catches for 1,288 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. They’ll be hoping he boosts a passing offense that was 32st ranked in terms of passing touchdowns, and only had 13 touchdowns through the air as a team. He joins former second-round pick Stephen Hill, return specialist and deep threat Jacoby Ford, and slot man Jeremy Kerley in New York.
Projected Starters: Robert Woods & Sammy Watkins
Key Reserves: Mike Williams, Marquise Goodwin
Overview: The Buffalo Bills receiving corps underwent a face lift as well this offseason. Former #1 target Stevie Johnson was traded to San Francisco. The Bills then acquired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-catcher Mike Williams, and drafted Clemson wideout Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. Watkins and Williams will likely They also return receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin is one of the fleetest of foot wideouts around, while Woods will likely step up as a starter opposite Watkins to be a consistent target for E.J. Manuel in the absence of Johnson.
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