New England Patriots: Looking back at recent preseason standouts

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler /
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New England Patriots
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 12: Kenbrell Thompkins /

Kenbrell Thompkins – WR – Cincinnati

Thompkins like all the others on this list started to make waves in his rookie preseason. His career zenith came in his first regular season catching 32 passes and 4 touchdowns. His trajectory started a downward turn in 2014 where he only featured in two games before being released. Of all the receivers on this list, Thompkins really did appear to be the real deal, a diamond in the rough plucked from anonymity.

He was claimed by the Raiders but didn’t play much. In a move that surprised many, the Patriots brought him back in 2015 to the practice squad. He only lasted a month. Since then he has been on the Jets practice squad/active roster merry-go-round. 

Brian Tyms – WR – Florida A&M

Tyms was seen as the second coming of Kenbrell Thompkins when the Patriots signed him in 2014. One could argue his performances ultimately brought about the end of Thompkins time in New England. He brought the rare quality that Patriots fans had been seeking since Randy Moss was traded – the ability to catch the deep ball.

In one preseason came he caught five passes for 119 yards. Once activated to the roster he scored a 49-yard Touchdown in his first game, which brought him into mainstream consciousness. He ultimately failed to make further impact and had to wait to the last game of the season before he recorded another catch. He was released after the end of the season and now plays for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the CFL.