NFL fans and experts have shared their views on the Patriots’ 2022 NFL Draft selections and many members of this 10-player category have not scored high. Of course, none of this matters, as it is impossible to rate a draft category before you see the players qualify for regular season games.
This highly abused rookie class, however, is off to a good start. During this off-season, members of the media attended a total of four practices between organized group activities or OTA and minicamp. It seems that the Patriots have found several players who could have an impact. Although we only had a brief taste of these players, many impressed this spring. The real test will be when the pads are placed during the training camp, which starts on July 27th.
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The following is a summary of what we saw from the Patriots’ draft lesson this spring:
Cole Strange, keeper
The selection of the first round of the Patriots was not made without controversy. Draft experts believe that Strange reached the 29th choice overall. Strange, however, it seems to have a direct impact. This off-season, he was placed in the left guard next to the original center David Andrews. This is similar to the story of Logan Mankins. Mankins was also considered a range in the first round, but started immediately. Strange has a great opportunity to prove that many people are wrong and that the Patriots are right. So far, the team must be happy as Strange looks like a key player in Day 1.
Tyquan Thornton, wide receiver
The Patriots’ attack needed much more speed and Thornton was one of the fastest players in the 2022 NFL Draft. Nelson Agholor. Thornton caught seven passes in group exercises this spring, but only one from No. 1 General Mac Jones. The Patriots also worked him as a shooter in special teams. This could be a key for the rookie with so many veteran receivers on the roster.
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Marcus Jones, corner
Jones, the Patriots’ third round of selection, returns from surgery on both shoulders. During training he wore a red jersey without contact. Jones was limited to position exercises at the beginning of each workout and did not actually participate in group exercises. This summer, he is expected to fight for the backup slot in the corner behind Jonathan Jones. He is also the leader to be the top player of the Patriots. It might be fun to watch him.
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Jack Jones, corner
The Patriots’ choice in the fourth round was also considered possible by the draft technicians, but Jones did not seem out of place during the OTA or in the minicamp. It looked like a possible theft. Placed opposite Jalen Mills in the corner. This seemed remarkable. The same could be said for his coaching performance. Jones intercepted rookie general Bailey Zape, repulsed another pass and then forced a corner kick by Angolor. After Strange, Jones is the next best rookie nominee to start for the Patriots this season.
Pierre Strong Jr., running backwards
The Patriots have great depth in the run with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson leading the group. An obvious point for Strong to fill would be third place back down. The Pats have James White recovering from a hip injury. The team also brought in veteran Ty Montgomery. Strong only caught two passes this spring from Zape, so he may not have a direct impact. He also trained as a comeback, which could be his way into the race day roster.
Bailey Zape, general
Planned in the fourth round, Zappe is clearly behind Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer in the depth chart. He worked with the third team attack in the spring – and that was no surprise. He showed a strong hand, but he must work with precision and touch. He threw two team-level cuts this spring, while completing 67% of his passes (22 out of 33) in team exercises. By comparison, Jones completed 87% (59 out of 68) and Hoyer 73% (30 out of 41) this spring.
Kevin Harris, running backwards
Harris is a dark horse to enter the roster of 53 men. He is behind Damien Harris, Stevenson, Montgomery, JJ Taylor and Strong in the depth chart. We gave him a party this spring. The backward position, however, is difficult to analyze when the pads are not fitted. An option in the sixth round, Harris will need a strong training camp and preparation to maintain a place on the roster.
Sam Roberts, defensive end
Roberts, a small school nominee from the state of Northwest Missouri, would be a great story if he were on the Patriots’ 53-man roster. The sixth round pick is behind Deatrich Wise, Matt Judon and Henry Anderson in the depth chart. This is another position that is difficult to analyze when contact is not allowed. Roberts has a chance to impress this summer. He will also need to show flexibility in the special teams to land on the roster of 53 players.
Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber, offensive line
We never saw Hines or Stueber in an OTA or minicamp. Both players appeared to be recovering from injuries. There is room for a young guard like Hines to be on the roster of 53 men. He would have to show flexibility and beat Drew Desjarlais and Arlington Hambright. Tacklin’s position has more competition. Stueber will play backups Justin Herron, Yasir Durant, Yodny Cajuste and Will Sherman this summer.
This article first appeared in The Providence Journal: Who stood out in the rookie class at the Minicamp Patriots