New England Patriots UDFA wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins continues to see his stock skyrocket, as he had another big practice yesterday that was underscored by a monstrous long catch that was theoretically a touchdown. Below are five players whose stocks are rising following a successful day of camp.
WR Kenbrell Thompkins
Kenbrell Thompkins has performed so well that Mike Reiss believes that Thompkins is the No. 4 receiver above Julian Edelman right now, and that this is going to be the way the wide receiver corps will shake out on opening day. While I disagree and believe it will be a battle between Edelman and Josh Boyce for the No. 3 job, Thompkins certainly grab that role if he keeps playing like this. Heck, he could even end up as the Patriots No. 3 receiver, but that’s a best-case scenario for Thompkins. For now, he is already surpassing expectations and doing an excellent job. If you look back at his college career with the Cincinnati Bearcats, it becomes apparent that he came into the draft undervalued due to a lack of college production. The same can be said for Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce, and that seems to be a common thread with the New England Patriots rookie wide receivers. As for what Thompkins did at camp yesterday, he caught a long bomb by beating Kyle Arrington, Aqib Talib, and Steve Gregory. Not bad, eh?
WR Julian Edelman
Well, Julian Edelman had something to say about Kenbrell Thompkins potentially usurping him on the depth chart, and he even said coming into today’s practice that he needed to play catch-up. Bill Belichick also stated that Edelman has some ground to cover, and that’s a great thing for the Patriots, because it just shows how well these rookies have been playing. Edelman had a good practice yesterday, and he looks caught up after showing no ill-effects during his first practice off the PUP. Tom Brady trusts Edelman, and Edelman looked as fast as ever and showed off very dependable hands. All we can ask is for Edelman to have some good luck this year and stay healthy, because he could break out.
LB Jamie Collins
Pepper Johnson speaks extremely highly of Jamie Collins, and that alone should make us pumped about seeing how Collins can develop with the Patriots. An athletic freak, Collins has been praised by teammates, and he always wants to learn from guys like Jerod Mayo as well. That thirst for knowledge combined with raw talent will certainly suit Collins well, and his knowledge of coverages as a guy who used to play safety will make him that much more intriguing as a coverage LB. Collins has an awful lot of upside, and he put in a terrific day of work (his best yet) with two forced fumbles. He has a little bit of Rob Ninkovich to him, because it seems like he knows exactly how to strip the ball and has a playing style that is conducive to fumbles. Collins got into a minor squabble with tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, but that was even less of an incident than the very minor altercation between Stevan Ridley and Kyle Arrington earlier this week.
DE Marcus Benard
Benard isn’t a good scheme fit as a 4-3 DE since he’s a 3-4 OLB, but he’s a great fit for this defense as a rotational defensive end who might be the best pure pass rusher among the backups. A former 7.5-sack player with the Cleveland Browns, Benard came into training camp as an underrated reclamation project, and he hasn’t disappointed. A fast pass rusher, I have Benard making the roster due to his skill-set that is unique to the other DEs on the roster, and he has a chance to be the best pass rushing backup of any of them. Benard had yet another good day in 1-on-1 drills yesterday, and he has the ability to be a solid cog as a backup in this defense.
G Tyronne Green
The Patriots made the surprise decision to cut top backup Nick McDonald, and that gives a clear path to the roster for Tyronne Green. Before yesterday’s practice, Bill Belichick stated that Green looks more like a pure guard than a G/C hybrid like Dan Connolly. Green has been a solid performer throughout training camp in 1-on-1 drills, and I believe the Patriots have taken notice and possibly had Green in mind after releasing McDonald. Yesterday, Green was solid again, and he did well against a huge, explosive interior pass rusher in Tommy Kelly, who has been impressing teammates and others thus far in camp.