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Ranking the WR units the Patriots will face in 2017

August 12th, 2017 at 8:38 AM
By Sports Media 101

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

In this series we’ll rank the positional groups for each of the thirteen teams on the Patriots’ 2017 regular season schedule. We’ll start at the core of the defensive front seven and work outward throughout the defense. Then we’ll do the same for the offense, ultimately finishing at the quarterback position.

Have you missed a position in this series? Catch up here:

Defense: Int. DL â?? Edge Defenders â?? Linebackers â?? Safeties â?? Cornerbacks

Offense: Int. OL â?? Tackles â?? Tight Ends â?? Running Backs â?? Wide Receivers â?? Quarterbacks

When looking at the slate of wide receiver groups on the Patriots’ schedule, it’s no surprise that the team allocated considerable resources in its secondary this offseason. Here are the 13 units New England will face in 2017.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

In what was likely the toughest call atop any of the positional ranking lists in this series, Pittsburgh’s unit edged out Julio Jones and company by the narrowest of margins. The deciding factor? The return of explosive vertical threat Martavis Bryant. He’ll bolster an Antonio Brown-led group that includes third-year slot receiver Eli Rogers, who developed a solid rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2016, Cobi Hamilton, who logged 467 snaps last season, and veteran Darius Heyward-Bey. Former USC Trojan JuJu Smith-Schuster, the team’s second-round pick, looks to work his way up the depth chart, as will Sammie Coates, who started training camp on the PUP list.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Unlike in years past, this unit no longer relies solely upon the league’s best pass-catching weapon — Julio Jones — for its production. Cleveland Browns castoff Taylor Gabriel was one the NFL’s best slot receivers in 2016. Mohamed Sanu, who was added in free agency last offseason and caught a …

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Tags: cornerbacks, Edge Defenders, Int. DL, Int. OL, linebackers, running backs, Safeties, Tackles, tight ends

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