BOSTON (CBS) -- Leading up to the 2021 Patriots season, we'll be taking a look at a specific storyline that will have our attention throughout the season. Today we dive into the New England receiving corps, which brings a lot of questions into the 2021 season.
But we're used to that by now, considering the New England receiving corps always has a lot of questions surrounding them heading into a season.
Something we're pretty sure we know about the group is that Jakobi Meyers is going to be a solid option for rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The kid is nails out there and he's gotten better over the last two seasons. He was the most promising of last year's group with 59 receptions for 729 yards. He also completed both of his passes, which were both touchdown throws.
It's a safe bet that he'll finally catch a touchdown of his own this season. Meyers is primed for even bigger things in 2021 as Jones' go-to guy.
After that though, things are a little murky.
Nelson Agholor had a career year with the Raiders last season, but he didn't do much in the preseason or in camp. And everyone is familiar with his trademark drops thanks to all those affable Philly fans. The Patriots signed him as if he were a No. 1 receiver, but no one in New England is convinced that he can be a No. 1 receiver. He'll have to prove otherwise throughout the season.
Kendrick Bourne, the team's other big free agent splash at receiver, also didn't show much during the preseason. But he'll be called upon to catch a lot of passes, building on his 49-catch, 667-yard season with San Francisco last year. After receiving a big payday over the offseason, there will be pressure on Bourne to produce.
After those three, the question marks get bigger. Can N'Keal Harry do... something? Anything? For starters, can he stay healthy?
Harry is starting his third NFL season on IR, something he is all too familiar with over his brief NFL career. He should only miss a few weeks after busting his shoulder during preseason game No. 2, but how much will he factor in to the offense when he gets back? He's looking at limited snaps as the team's No. 4 receiver, thanks to a pair of big signings at tight end. Harry's agent requested a trade back in July in hopes of his client getting a bigger opportunity elsewhere, but it's been all quiet on that front. Harry and Bill Belichick say that everything is awesome, but is he going to be happy with a small role in the offense?
Ultimately, the best way for Harry to insert himself into the mix is to produce when he gets his opportunity. So far during his career, the first-round pick has shown no ability to do so.
Rounding out the group is Gunner Olszewski. He may be an All Pro return man, but he had some real issues with drops during the preseason. He won't see many passes go his way, but he cannot afford to have those dropsies follow him to the regular season.
There is a lot of promise on the New England offense, with an exciting rookie quarterback, a talented group of running backs and two potentially electric tight ends. But there are a whole lot of questions when it comes to New England's receivers, which may lead to some frustrating Sundays for the team.
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