New England Patriots rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins has been the team’s most impressive wideout since training camp has opened, and he was also excellent during OTAs and minicamp. The former Cincinnati Bearcats standout was the most impressive wide receiver during the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he has consistently performed at a high level thus far. Right now, I’m starting to wonder if Thompkins could even receive more targets than Aaron Dobson to start the season, because he’s been just that good to this point.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins makes a reception during minicamp at the practice fields of Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss said that Kenbrell Thompkins once again received first-team reps, and he once again did well during joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thompkins had one incredible one-handed catch around a Buccaneers cornerback, and that stellar play likely saved a pick. The UDFA wideout showed some terrific ball skills on that one, and he made up for some great coverage from the opposition with that dandy of a haul.
Thompkins was the most impressive rookie on the offensive side of the ball, and the best rookie performer on the defensive side of the ball, Jamie Collins, lies on the opposite end of the spectrum (Collins was the Patriots top pick in the draft whilst Thompkins went undrafted).
Collins hasn’t been as scintillating as Thompkins in training camp, but he has certainly been very impressive by wreaking havoc all over the field. He has shown excellent coverage skills, and he also has a real knack for forcing fumbles and batting away passes. All of the praise that linebackers coach Pepper Johnson has lofted on Collins is well-deserved, and Collins is an athletic freak, playmaker, and a willing learner. Those are all tremendous traits.
With Brandon Spikes out with an unknown injury yesterday, it was Collins’s time to shine, and he certainly took advantage of the opportunity and added reps. Patriots.com’s Paul Perillo had this to say about Collins’s performance yesterday, “He was active at times, knocking down a couple of passes and nearly picking one off”.