New England Patriots: 3 Players to Watch in Preseason Week 3 vs. Panthers

Who to look out for as the New England Patriots take on the Carolina Panthers

George Walker IV /The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK

WR Eric Decker ― No. 81

We’re two weeks into the preseason and veteran wideout Eric Decker has yet to make a case for why deserves a spot on the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

The 31-year-old pass catcher has played just 22 snaps over New England’s first two preseason contests and hasn’t recorded a reception. He signed with the Patriots midway through training camp and was noted by reporters for struggling with drops in practice.

Decker is coming off a lackluster 2017 season in which he had 54 catches for 563 yards and just one touchdown with the Tennessee Titans. Now in his ninth season as a pro, it’s worth wondering if he can still create separation against younger, quicker defensive backs.

There’s still a chance Decker does find his way onto the Patriots’ roster. The team released veteran wideout Kenny Britt on Wednesday and Decker could fill Julian Edelman’s roster spot while he serves a four-game suspension. New England may decide to move forward with one of their younger receivers, like Braxton Berrios or Riley McCarron, or use the waiver wire to find a better option.

Friday’s matchup will weigh heavily into whether or not Decker makes the 53-man roster and what role he’ll play if he does.

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