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Even minus Welker, Pats WRs impressive

This week's edition of the Scouts' Eye on ESPN Insider examines the NFL's most intriguing circumstances at wide receiver.

The New England Patriots are first on the list of four teams Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson highlights. Williamson's opening line: "The more I look at this wide receiver and tight end situation, the more I like it."

The Patriots are facing some uncertainty when it comes to Tom Brady's targets. His security blanket, Wes Welker, is recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries. Welker isn't expected to be available and effective at the start of the regular season. All of their tight ends -- rookies Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and free agent Alge Crumpler -- are new to the offense.

In the Patriots' favor, Williamson writes, is that Randy Moss is entering a contract year and should be motivated for a big season, and Hernandez provides flexibility as a dangerous receiver if the Patriots want to go with double tight ends. Williamson sees Hernandez playing a significant role in helping Julian Edelman fill Welker's void.

"The other wideouts also are interesting, especially Brandon Tate, who more or less had a redshirt year in 2009 as he recovered from a knee injury," Williamson writes. "But Tate can be a difference-maker and is immensely talented. ... Expect Tate to quickly become a prominent member of this passing attack and quite possibly an opening-day starter."

Williamson isn't counting on veteran free agent Torry Holt to add much because youngsters like Tate and rookie Taylor Price could become more attractive options in a hurry.