The New England Patriots overhaul at the wide receiver position created a much younger and more athletic stable of receivers for Tom Bradyto throw it to, but there were questions about the short-term effects of adding so many new and unproven receivers to the mix. Rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, and TE Zach Sudfeld have proven thus far that they are talented and can be trust, and it seems like Brady is growing a nice rapport with all of them.
Brady himself stated that he can count on these receivers in an interview with Dennis & Callahan this morning, via ESPN Boston, “The good part is, they’ve really been able to be counted on. And I think that’s through their work, their preparation and what they’ve done on the practice field and using the couple of weeks we’ve had against opponents, including the practices. They really continue to do what they’ve done all spring and the early part of training camp.”
Thompkins has been the best of the bunch this offseason, and it seems like he could be a starting receiver after going undrafted. Sudfeld had a huge preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with great two-point conversion and touchdown catches, and he had a terrific training camp. Like Thompkins, it is hard to believe that Sudfeld went undrafted, and he should have a significant role on the Patriots as a “move” tight end, even when Rob Gronkowski comes back.
Brady added, “KT, Aaron and Josh, young receivers that we have have done the same thing. They’ve all come out, they’ve improved through the coaching, listened to the veteran players that have been around them, and that’s a real credit to them. They’re understanding and hopefully they continue to go on to be really great professionals, because if you’re not a professional, you don’t last long. To play for a Bill Belichick coached team you better be smart, you better be tough and you better put the team first.”
Count this as one of the most important endorsements (probably “the most”) of these rookie pass-catchers, and all four of them look good and ready to make an impact. It’s telling that Brady believes he can trust them right now, because he stated months ago that he would know who he is comfortable throwing to around this time in training camp. It sounds like Brady is comfortable throwing it to any of these guys, but I am sure that Danny Amendola will end up being his favorite target (he already is, really).