The 4 most impressive Patriots through OTAs (so far)

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Marte Mapu

An under-the-radar yet potentially significant playmaker for the Patriots, Marte Mapu's versatility has been the leading detail when discussing the rookie linebacker.

When the media got the first opportunity to see Mapu in action last week, he was practicing at his given position on the defense, in a non-contact jersey, however. But his placement on the field change when reporters returned on Tuesday, as they witnessed him playing deep at free safety.

Mapu was known to play nearly every position on the defense during his time at Sacramento State, including "slot defender, deep safety, strong safety, overhang linebacker, and edge rusher, depending on the defensive play call and offensive personnel."

So, Belichick had him showcase that during Tuesday's practice.

What makes his move to free safety more interesting, though, is his potential to replace the newly retired Devin McCourty at the position. Expect to see more of that during training camp in a few weeks, as Belichick will likely continue to explore all that Mapu can do, especially since he has a passion for versatile players.

That versatility has already caught the eye of his veteran defensemen, with Jalen Mills citing Mapu's athletic ability as one of the more prominent aspects of his game.

"I think the biggest thing is just him knowing at the end of the day, wherever they sub him in at, what position am I at, firstly?. Whether I’m at linebacker (or) I’m at safety, I’m on the tight end, I’m on the running back. And then two, what’s my execution for this play? Am I in man? Am I in zone? And then just let his athletic ability take over from there."

Jalen Mills after Tuesday's practice

Hopefully, come training camp, Mapu will be rid of the non-contact jersey and allowed to participate in the full practices to show off his full abilities. That's when we will get a real look at what he can bring to this defense.