Cornerback is a position of concern for the New England Patriots as the 2012 NFL season approaches. Wide receiver is anything but. With the Patriots finishing their OTA on Thursday, ESPN's Mike Reiss writes that the team saw encouraging developments at both positions.
Cornerback Ras-I Dowling, the Patriots' second-round selection in 2011, looked strong after being limited to just two games in his rookie season before undergoing hip surgery. Reiss writes that Dowling's size stood out, and he showed enough speed to run stride for stride with Brandon Lloyd on at least one occasion.
The Patriots' crowded wide receiver corpse has put Deion Branch in unfamiliar territory as a possible odd man out, but Reiss said Branch looked quick and impressive during Thursday's workout. With Lloyd and Anthony Gonzalez joining the cast of weapons at Tom Brady's disposal, Branch certainly will need to scratch for playing time.