Checking the locks: Patriots WRs

As part of this slow time on the NFL calendar, when we'll be taking a break to recharge for the 2014 season, we introduce the pre-produced "checking the locks" series in which we analyze the players on the Patriots' roster who are "locks" to stick. Today, it's wide receivers.

Sure-fire locks: Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman

Near locks: Danny Amendola, Josh Boyce, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins

Trying to get in the door: Jeremy Gallon, Jeremy Johnson, Wilson Van Hooser, Reese Wiggins

Analysis: One of the few areas of intrigue at receiver is whether Gallon, the seventh-round draft choice from Michigan, can find a way to sneak on the roster. The Patriots obviously liked his college production and they probably see some similarities between him and the 2009 version of Edelman (another seventh-round pick) in the sense that Gallon is a good football player who doesn't fit into the traditional box. A spot on the practice squad seems more likely at this time, but a strong showing in training camp could change the thinking. As the snapshot shows, the Patriots are counting highly on the development of three second-year players in Dobson, Boyce and Thompkins. Projected improvement is often easy to overlook in any analysis, and this will be a top storyline to watch in training camp.