New England Patriots

Updated Patriots WR depth chart after K.J. Osborn signing in free agency

The Patriots still need to draft a WR to improve this group.

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The New England Patriots finally added a veteran wide receiver in NFL free agency over the weekend when they agreed to sign K.J. Osborn to a one-year contract worth $4 million.

After missing out on the top free agent wide receiver -- Calvin Ridley -- last week, the Patriots had to turn their attention to the second tier of wideouts available, and Osborn ranked among the best of that group.

The 26-year-old wideout was a 2020 fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings and was a productive player over four seasons with the NFC North franchise. He tallied 48 receptions for 540 yards and three touchdowns in 2023. He averaged 52.6 catches, 615 yards and five touchdowns per season for the Vikings overall.

Osborn primarily played as a slot receiver for Minnesota but he is capable of being effective outside. He's also someone who can stretch the field a bit.

Osborn has some punt and kick return experience from the Vikings, too, but he hasn't returned any kicks since the 2021 campaign.

Osborn isn't a No. 1 wideout by any means, but he's arguably the team's best player at the position right now. Kendrick Bourne could be that guy if his recovery from a torn ACL goes well.

The Patriots still need more high-end talent at wide receiver before next season, and at this point in the offseason, the best place to find that player is the 2024 NFL Draft next month. This year's class is pretty deep at wide receiver, so the Patriots could find a good one in the second or third rounds -- assuming they select a quarterback in the first round.

New England has had very little success drafting wideouts for over a decade. Recent swings-and-misses include Tyquan Thornton (2022, second round) and N'Keal Harry (2019, first round). Harry will go down as one of the worst first-round picks of Bill Belichick's 24-year tenure in Foxboro.

The only wide receiver drafted by the Patriots since 2000 who had a 1,000-yard season for the team is Julian Edelman -- a seventh-round pick in 2009. He had three 1,000-yard seasons. Deion Branch had plenty of great postseason moments for the Patriots but never reached the 1,000-yard mark.

There is some hope that a turnaround is possible, though. The Patriots' new director of player personnel, Eliot Wolf, was in the Green Bay Packers front office when they selected wide receivers such as Ty Montgomery (2015), Davante Adams (2014), Randall Cobb (2011) and Greg Jennings (2006). All four of those players were drafted after the first round.

Here's what the Patriots' wide receiver depth chart looks like now that Osborn is in the fold.

  • Kendrick Bourne
  • DeMario Douglas
  • K.J. Osborn
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • Tyquan Thornton
  • Kayshon Boutte
  • Jalen Reagor
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