The competition has been fierce at wide receiver four days into New England Patriots training camp, and that hasn’t been lost on head coach Bill Belichick.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and special-teamer Matthew Slater are locks to make the Patriots’ initial 53-man roster, barring injury, leaving what’s likely just one spot open for Keshawn Martin, Nate Washington, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper, Devin Lucien and DeAndre Carter. Edelman and Amendola began the summer on the physically unable to perform list and have yet to pass their physicals, and Washington has been out since the first day of training camp.
Martin, Washington, Dobson, Harper, Lucien and Carter all have impressed early in camp, which could make Belichick’s job very difficult when he has to trim down the roster at the end of the summer.
Belichick gave the group unprecedented praise.
“I think our competition at receiver is probably as good as it’s been since I’ve been here,” Belichick said Monday on Sirius XM NFL Radio’s “Movin’ the Chains”, via ESPN.com. “All those guys are capable at whatever it is; they have different styles and different positions — slot guys, outside guys. But whatever it is, they’re very competitive and capable players that have a lot to offer. Obviously we can’t keep all of them, but it should be a good battle because they all have skill.”
Belichick also is happy with the Patriots’ group of safeties, which includes starters Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung, key reserves Duron Harmon and Jordan Richards and Brock Vereen, Cedric Thompson and Vinnie Sunseri as depth. Nate Ebner, a core special-teamer, currently is on the Patriots’ exempt list as he trains for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Our safety position might be the strongest position we have on the team, from top to bottom,” Belichick said, via ESPN.com.
McCourty, Chung, Harmon and Richards are locks to make the roster, but Vereen and Thompson also have impressed in camp. Vereen has a pass breakup and an interception in competitive drills, while Thompson is 2 and 2 in 1-on-1 drills with one pass breakup. Sunseri, who signed this summer, has a pass breakup and an interception in competitive drills.
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