The New England Patriots were back on the practice fields on Monday to hold their seventh organized team activity. While OTAs are meant as a learning exercise and take place without full pads or live tackling, they still give players their most extensive opportunity to get used to the system and the team as a whole before mandatory minicamp takes place later this month.
New England traditionally has strong attendance, and the first live looks at the team confirmed this. While 24 players were not spotted during Friday’s session open to reporters (with six others working out on their own to rehab injuries), the team had a healthy portion of its roster present for its first two weeks OTA action.
It seems as if this trend is continuing heading into Week 3. Based on 46 photos shared on their website, we can see that five veterans joined their teammates for the first time on Monday:
OT Trent Brown, WR Marvin Hall, LB Matthew Judon, S Devin McCourty, S Adrian Phillips
With the exception of Marvin Hall, who was signed as a free agent last week, all of the first-time attendees are projected to play prominent roles for the Patriots this year. Trent Brown projects as the team’s starting right tackle; fellow offseason addition Matthew Judon will be a top-level linebacker; Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips are two of the top three safeties on the roster (the other being second-year man Kyle Dugger).
Also on the field were two players not spotted during the last open practice on Friday:
WR N’Keal Harry, RB Rhamondre Stevenson
Former first-round pick N’Keal Harry, who is seemingly facing a make-or-break season in Year 3, was a regular participant during offseason workouts but surprisingly nowhere to be found on Friday. His return obviously is a positive. Rhamondre Stevenson has been on and off so far during offseason workouts, but every practice rep he can get is obviously valuable for his development.
The list of other players spotted on Monday’s photos is obviously not an accurate snapshot of who was actually present for the session — not every player was identifiable and it can reasonably be assumed that not every one was photographed either. However, it still gives us some impression of who was there beyond the seven men listed above:
DE Henry Anderson, C David Andrews, DE Rashod Berry, CB Justin Bethel, S Adrian Colbert, S Cody Davis, RB Tyler Gaffney, DT Davon Godchaux, CB Michael Jackson Sr, FB Jakob Johnson, QB Mac Jones, OL Ted Karras, TE Matt LaCosse, LB Harvey Langi, OL Marcus Martin, WR Jakobi Meyers, DT Bill Murray, WR Tre Nixon, WR Gunner Olszewski, G Michael Onwenu, OL Alex Redmond, CB D’Angelo Ross, DT Akeem Spence, QB Jarrett Stidham, RB J.J. Taylor, DT Nick Thurman, LB Josh Uche, LB Kyle Van Noy, CB Dee Virgin, WR Kristian Wilkerson, S Joejuan Williams, LB Chase Winovich, DE Deatrich Wise Jr, WR Isaiah Zuber
While reading anything into the photos can be dangerous, it has to be noted that incumbent starting quarterback Cam Newton was not photographed. He left Friday’s practice with a hand injury, and was unable to finish the session. The belief is that the ailment will not be a long-term issue, but he is certainly a player to keep an eye on moving forward.
All in all, the Patriots are in the middle of a busy week. They are holding additional OTA practices on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with Thursday’s session open to the media again. New England will also hold its three-day mandatory minicamp soon: the first time all players will have to be present — OTAs are voluntary — will come between June 14 and June 16.