The Patriots held their rookie camp last Friday and Saturday, getting their first real chance to run the newest potential Patriots through their paces together down in Foxborough.
Top pick Patrick Chung was impressive. Reiss said that Chung looks like a leader out on the field, while Guregian said that Chung looked incredibly poised out there. Reiss observed that Chung looked fine in the cover drills, which had been able the only concern on the second round pick. With the statements that Chung has made about learning the defense and that he enjoys putting the hits on opposing players, the Patriots might’ve gotten their type of player with this selection – at second round money.
Darius Butler was the other skill guy getting a lot of attention in this camp. Guregian noted that Butler had an up and down day on Friday, struggling a bit in the morning catching punts and in coverage, but recovering to pick off a couple of passes in the afternoon. Reiss liked Butler’s form and technique, noting that he got in and out of his breaks smoothly and decisively in the camp. Gasper thinks that Butler has the skills to succeed. He’s got a pretty good mentor, as well.
It’s mostly the skill players that make an impression in these type of workouts. Reiss notes that it is tough to get a read on the big guys in these sessions. So with defensive picks like Ron Brace, Myron Pryor and Darryl Richard as well as offensive lineman like Sebastian Vollmer, Rich Ohrnberger and George Bussey the camp was spent mostly with their position coaches, working on technique. We did learn that Bussey and Pryor share some common roots, having both grown up in Louisville.
One of the feel-good stories of the draft turned into about the only downer of the rookie camp. Third round pick Tyrone McKenzie, the linebacker from South Florida went down with a knee injury and couldn’t complete the camp. Guregian observed that the training staff appeared to be doing various stretches to test the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments on McKenzie’s knee.
Third round pick Brandon Tate couldn’t be on the field during camp, but the wide receiver was on the sidelines, trying to learn as much as he could up close.
Seventh round pick Julian Edleman apparently opened a few eyes during the camp. The quarterback turned wide receiver also took a few handoffs at running back, showing his versatility. Reiss was impressed enough to note that Edleman was the player that caught his eye during the first day of camp. Guregian made the comparison to Wes Welker, and noted Edleman’s transition from QB to potential offensive weapon extraordinaire.
Having caught lightning in a bottle with Stephen Neal making the transistion from wrestler to offensive lineman, the Patriots are attempting to do the same with Jermail Porter. It’s worth watching how much time and effort the club invests into Porter, who is attempting organized football for the first time in his life.
So that pretty much wraps up the camp. From here, we go to passing camps and other organized team activities, such as mini-camp next month. Are You Ready for the Summer?
Old friend Christopher Price had a pretty good look at the team today as we hit the mid-point of the offseason.