What We Learned From Patriots’ Inside Look At 2022 Rookie Minicamp

The practices were closed to fans and repoerters

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The New England Patriots’ annual rookie minicamp is held behind closed doors, off-limits to both the general public and the media.

The Patriots did provide a glimpse into this past weekend’s 2022 edition, however, posting a collection of 41 practice photos on their official website.

Here’s what we were able to glean from that inside look (click the links below to view each photo):

— The Patriots had at least three rookie minicamp participants whose attendance had not been previously reported: linebacker Omari Cobb, defensive end Keyshawn James and wide receiver Jake Parker.

Cobb is an NFL veteran who previously spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants. He was on the Giants’ practice squad for most of last season, playing under then-head coach Joe Judge, who now is back in New England as an offensive assistant.

James and Parker are small-school undrafted rookies, having played their college ball at Division-II Fayetteville State and Division-III Howard Payne University, respectively. The former was Defensive Player of the Year in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association last season after piling up 10 1/2 sacks and 23 1/2 tackles for loss. The latter caught 52 passes for 1,113 yards and 13 touchdowns to earn Player of the Year honors in the American Southwest Conference.

Parker also returned punts and kicks and saw action on defense last season. He spent a season at Texas Tech — where he played alongside high school teammate and close friend Patrick Mahomes — early in his college career before leaving football for more than two years to work in the Texas oil fields.

Defensive back Coby Tippett, son of Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, also participated in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. It’s unclear if any of those four players landed permanent contracts.

— Undrafted rookie D’Eriq King is listed as a quarterback on the Patriots’ official roster, but multiple photos showed him playing wide receiver.

King, a former QB at Miami and Houston who also played wideout early in his college career, told Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson after signing that the Patriots plan to have him do “a little bit of everything.”

“Receiver, quarterback, running back — whatever I can do to stick,” he said.

UPDATE (5:15 p.m. ET): King did not stick. The Patriots waived him Monday.

— Second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton is incredibly slender. At 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, he’s the lightest wideout the Patriots have drafted under Bill Belichick, and his lack of bulk has raised questions about how the Baylor speedster will fare against stronger, more physical NFL defensive backs.

— Sixth-round running back Kevin Harris is the opposite. He’s a big, imposing dude, measuring in at 5-foot-10, 221 pounds at the NFL combine.

Harris underwent back surgery last offseason and didn’t look like the same player afterward (his yardage, yards-per-carry and touchdown marks all nosedived), but if he can recapture his promising 2020 form, there’s some thunder-and-lightning potential with him fourth-round draft pick Pierre Strong (5-11, 207). He averaged 113.8 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns two seasons ago as a South Carolina sophomore.

— Unfortunately, it looks like first-round guard Cole Strange ditched the old-school middle-bar facemask he sported at Chattanooga. That’s a look you don’t often see in the NFL these days.

— Fourth-round corner Jack Jackson saw reps as a return man. He did a bit of that in college, returning a handful of kickoffs and punts over his five seasons at USC and Arizona State.

— Patriots draft picks not spotted in any team-released photos: cornerback Marcus Jones (third round), running back Pierre Strong (fourth), offensive linemen Chasen Hines (sixth) and Andrew Stueber (seventh).

Jones is coming off surgery on both shoulders but said he expects to be ready by training camp, which begins in late July. Organized team activities kick off next Monday.

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