The New England Patriots decision to release Donald Jones was largely due to their desire to give rookies necessary reps during training camp in order to gain more experience, and undrafted free agent sleeper Kenbrell Thompkins was at the forefront of that plan. Jones’s release was also a vote of confidence for players like Thompkins and more touted rookie wideout Aaron Dobson, because it showed that the Patriots believe these rookies have the tools to make an impact and will be in a better position to make an impact than Jones with added experience.
Count Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib as somebody impressed with Dobson and Thompkins early on, as he praised both for their ability to get off the line of scrimmage. Via ESPN Boston, “[Dobson's] got good releases off the line. That’s what I think he does real good. Him, KT [Thompkins], they’re both pretty good at releasing off the line.”
As Talib implied, it’s hard to precisely describe what makes a receiver good at releasing off of the line of scrimmage, but it is an important trait and, in my opinion, mostly deals with quickness. I’m not sure how quick Thompkins is, but he seems pretty quick, and Dobson was a speedster at Marshall.
Talib also added that fellow corner Alfonzo Dennard looks slimmer in training camp, but it is his encouraging words about the two rookie receivers and their ability to immediately get of the LOS with success that stands out the most to everyone. We’ll see if Thompkins can latch onto a roster spot, and I currently have him penciled in as the No. 5 wide receiver.