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Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Checking the locks: Patriots WRs

By Mike Reiss

As part of this slow time on the NFL calendar, when we'll be taking a break to recharge for the 2014 season, we introduce the pre-produced "checking the locks" series in which we analyze the players on the Patriots' roster who are "locks" to stick. Today, it's wide receivers.

Jeremy Gallon
Jeremy Gallon caught 89 passes last season at Michigan.
Sure-fire locks: Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman

Near locks: Danny Amendola, Josh Boyce, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins

Trying to get in the door: Jeremy Gallon, Jeremy Johnson, Wilson Van Hooser, Reese Wiggins

Analysis: One of the few areas of intrigue at receiver is whether Gallon, the seventh-round draft choice from Michigan, can find a way to sneak on the roster. The Patriots obviously liked his college production and they probably see some similarities between him and the 2009 version of Edelman (another seventh-round pick) in the sense that Gallon is a good football player who doesn't fit into the traditional box. A spot on the practice squad seems more likely at this time, but a strong showing in training camp could change the thinking. As the snapshot shows, the Patriots are counting highly on the development of three second-year players in Dobson, Boyce and Thompkins. Projected improvement is often easy to overlook in any analysis, and this will be a top storyline to watch in training camp.