The competition will be fierce to make the New England Patriots’ roster in 2021, and it all starts during organized team activities spring practices.
These are the under-the-radar players to monitor during OTAs and minicamp before the Patriots break for the summer. The media will be present during Thursday’s OTAs session.
RB J.J. TAYLOR
Taylor showed promise as an undrafted rookie in 2020 but only wound up playing six games and carrying the ball 23 times for 110 yards. He also caught one pass on two targets for 4 yards.
Taylor is now competing for a roster spot with fellow running backs Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White, Brandon Bolden, Tyler Gaffney and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson.
The Arizona product is undersized but runs with power and comes with some pass-catching ability out of the backfield.
WR KRISTIAN WILKERSON
Another 2020 undrafted free agent, Wilkerson has a unique blend of size, speed, agility and explosion. He spent last summer with the Tennessee Titans and the entire 2020 season on the Patriots’ practice squad. Now, Wilkerson will get a full slate of offseason practices to show what he can offer New England.
WR ISAIAH ZUBER
Sensing a pattern here? Zuber is another 2020 UDFA. He was used as a gadget player in limited action last season, carrying the ball twice for 21 yards and catching two passes for 29 yards. We’ll see if he can be a more consistent performer this spring and summer.
TE DALTON KEENE
The Patriots are expected to go heavy on two-tight end sets this season, and that could reduce their need for a fullback. Keene is a tight end who could play fullback when needed in certain packages. We’ll see if he gets reps in that role this week.
LB TEREZ HALL
Hall had impressive moments as a surprise contributor in the Patriots’ defense last season. Now he’s in the mix to start next to Dont’a Hightower in New England’s front seven.
LB CAMERON MCGRONE
It looked like McGrone was present for New England’s first OTAs session this week. That’s a slight surprise since he tore his ACL in November.
DB MYLES BRYANT
The Patriots signed some impressive undrafted free agents last year; Bryant is another one. He played slot cornerback and safety as a rookie. He has a chance to find a role in a somewhat shallow cornerback corps this spring and summer.
K QUINN NORDIN
Nordin is the Patriots’ lone undrafted free-agent signing. He’s battling with Nick Folk and Roberto Aguayo for New England’s kicking job.