FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots undrafted cornerback J.C. Jackson showed Thursday why he’s running with the first-team defense.
Jackson was targeted in coverage three straight times by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer during 11-on-11 drills and forced three straight incompletions with tight coverage on Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson and Rex Burkhead. He broke up the third pass, intended for Burkhead, before Patriots quarterbacks started to look elsewhere.
An undrafted rookie free agent makes the Patriots’ roster almost every year. Jackson currently is the favorite of this year’s crop.
Here are the rest of our observations from Day 3 of minicamp.
— Wide receiver Kenny Britt, safety David Jones, running back Brandon Bolden and guard Joe Thuney were absent from the session.
— Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell wasn’t present for the start of practice, but he later worked on a side field.
— Cornerbacks Cyrus Jones, Keion Crossen and Jonathan Jones, safety Nate Ebner, wide receiver Braxton Berrios, defensive tackle Malcom Brown and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon were present for practice but limited.
— Cornerback Jason McCourty, who has yet to compete in a drill this spring, and defensive end Trey Flowers both left the field early. Tight end Dwayne Allen was limping to end practice.
— Offensive linemen Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown stayed on the field for the entire practice but didn’t compete in competitive team drills.
— Patriots running backs James White, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel worked closely with Josh McDaniels on deep routes. Michel’s inclusion shows what the Patriots think of him as a receiving back. He had 64 career receptions at Georgia but only nine as a senior.
— Quarterback Tom Brady went 9-of-13 in 11-on-11 drills and 14-of-21 overall. Hoyer was 2-of-8 with a fumbled snap in 11-on-11s. He was 8-of-14 overall. Rookie Danny Etling went 5-of-7 in 11s with a fumble.
— Tight end Jacob Hollister continues to stand out in spring practices. It appears he has taken the desired second-year leap in New England.
— Hoyer and offensive tackle Cole Croston took laps for missteps. The entire offense took a lap after an illegal substitution then got a stern lecture from head coach Bill Belichick.
— Wide receiver Julian Edelman, who reportedly is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, was late arriving to the field.