New England Patriots

Jun 15, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (13) participates in a drill during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots still don’t have a No. 1 wide receiver. But do they need one?

They certainly didn’t need one during Rob Gronkowski’s career. The Patriots didn’t need a True No. 1 Receiver™ because they had a go-to pass-catcher, who just happened to play tight end.

In 2021, a similar situation needs to play out in Foxborough. Because tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry have the best shot to be the Pats’ No. 1 target and engine of the offense. At wide receiver, the depth chart is certainly improved – it’s at least populated with established NFL players – but it’s ultimately a collection of complementary pieces. They may fit better in the puzzle than others did in the previous two seasons, but none are likely to emerge as a game-changing threat.

That being said, there are some notable changes to cover and intriguing storylines to know as training camp approaches. So here’s a preview of the 2021 Patriots at wide receiver…

Projected Depth Chart: Wide Receiver

1. Jakobi Meyers
2. Nelson Agholor
3. Kendrick Bourne
4. N’Keal Harry
5. Gunner Olszewski
6. Isaiah Zuber
7. Devin Ross
8. Devin Smith
9. Marvin Hall
10. Tre Nixon

It would be shocking if any wide receiver led the Patriots in catches or touchdowns. But Agholor and Bourne have at least proven able to produce at a serviceable level, if not better, for an NFL offense. That’s more that can be said about most receivers that have come through Foxborough in recent years. They’re just questionable as far as a unit that can consistently make plays at a high level.

The upgrades are real. It remains to be seen if they’re spectacular.

Patriots 2021 Positional Previews: Quarterback | Tight End | Offensive Line | Running Back | Cornerback

MORE: Full Patriots Training Camp Coverage

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at