Patriots Training Camp: Three Early Risers Through Two Practices

A veteran back, a young safety and a sophomore corner

by

July 28

FOXBORO, MASS. — Right now, every Patriots player will tell you training camp hasn’t even really started, that nothing counts until the pads are on next week.

And they’re right. New England’s first two practices were all about teaching and installing, with competitive drills lacking the physicality that helps separate contenders from pretenders. Plus, all of the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills have taken place in the red zone.

Still, the practices haven’t been meaningless — far from it, in fact. And more than a few players have made strong first impressions.

Here are three early risers who are trending upward, perhaps surprisingly:

Joshuah Bledsoe, S
We won’t go too in-depth here, and instead will direct you to the column NESN.com’s Zack Cox wrote about Bledsoe on Thursday. Just know that Bledsoe, a 2021 sixth-round pick who missed all of last season due to a wrist injury that required multiple surgeries, was among the defense’s most active players both Wednesday and Thursday. He racked up at least four pass breakups (maybe five), covering both receivers and tight ends. It remains to be seen whether Bledsoe can do enough to earn a spot on a crowded Patriots safety depth chart, but he’s off to a great start.

Ty Montgomery, RB/WR
The 29-year-old hasn’t been electrifying by any means, but he’s been solid and, most importantly, busy. A hybrid weapon capable of lining up in the backfield and at slot receiver, Montgomery has seen action in both roles with both the first- and second-team offenses. Montgomery, who’s returned 57 kicks during his career, also has gotten plenty of run on special teams. His chances of making the team likely hinge on how fellow backs James White, Pierre Strong and James White do in camp (White still is on PUP), but Montgomery’s versatility surely intrigues the Patriots.

Shaun Wade, CB
Similar to Montgomery, Wade saw a lot of action over the first two days after entering camp as a relative afterthought. The sophomore defensive back has been the top slot corner during competitive drills, backed up by rookie Marcus Jones. We’ll see what happens if/when Jonathan Jones returns from PUP (shoulder injury), but, for now, Wade is doing the job and doing it well. The Patriots last summer traded a fifth- and seventh-round pick for Wade, whom the Ravens took in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. So, the Patriots clearly see something in the Ohio State product despite effectively redshirting him last season.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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