FOXBORO, Mass. — Barring a midsummer addition or surprise departure, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton are expected to occupy the top four spots on the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart this season.

All four of those players were missing from practice Tuesday.

Smith-Schuster, Bourne and Thornton all did not attend New England’s latest day of voluntary organized team activities, the second of the spring that was open to reporters. Parker was present but did not participate, instead running through conditioning drills on a side field. Of those four, only Smith-Schuster did not participate in last week’s open OTA.

Those absences left the Patriots with a hodgepodge collection of wideouts that resembled a JV squad. Their available receivers: Kayshon Boutte, Demario Douglas, Tre Nixon, Raleigh Webb, Malik Cunningham and Ed Lee.

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Boutte and Douglas are sixth-round rookies. Nixon is a 2022 seventh-round pick who spent the entirety of his first two seasons on the Patriots’ practice squad. Webb was a core special teamer last year. Cunningham, an undrafted free agent, is a converted quarterback who didn’t catch a pass in college at Louisville. Lee, another UDFA out of Rhode Island, just signed on Monday.

Five of those players have not played an offensive snap in a regular-season NFL game. Webb is the lone exception. He’s played one in his career, plus another 138 in the kicking game.

To belabor that point further, Nixon is the lone member of that group with a traditional receiver jersey number (No. 82). The four rookies are sporting the garish temporary numbers that they’ll wear until the preseason begins, and Webb was assigned the H-back-esque No. 44 when he joined the Patriots midway through last season.

It’s unclear why the Patriots’ bigger-name wideouts were not in the mix Tuesday, but their absences freed up prominent reps for these roster hopefuls. It wasn’t surprising, though, to see New England’s tight ends and running backs receive the lion’s share of targets in competitive drills.

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Nixon was the only wideout to catch a pass from starter Mac Jones in 11-on-11s. Douglas, who flashed in last Wednesday’s practice, was the only one with multiple receptions, grabbing one from Bailey Zappe and one from Trace McSorley. Boutte and Lee caught one pass apiece. Cunningham (two targets) and Webb (one) were shut out.

Overall, receivers accounted for just five of the Patriots’ 20 completions. Boutte also was reamed out by offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien minutes into practice for lining up incorrectly.

Still, a practice like this can be a valuable learning experience for these young wideouts, most of whom are just getting acclimated to the NFL game. That learning also continued after practice when Boutte, Douglas, Cunningham and Lee spent an extra 20-plus minutes running routes and catching passes from all three Patriots QBs.

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“All the rookies, they’ve all been good,” head coach Bill Belichick said before practice. “They’ve got a lot to learn, and they’re trying. Drinking through a fire hose, but that’s what it is for rookies coming into the NFL. They’ve all put in extra time. They’re trying. They’re overwhelmed, but they’re still afloat, still swimming, treading water. Eventually, it will sort itself out. No issues with any of them, really. They’re all working hard, but it’s a lot.”

The Patriots are scheduled to hold two final OTAs this Thursday and Friday, then a three-day mandatory minicamp next week before breaking for the summer. Friday’s practice and all three minicamp sessions will be open to the media.

Featured image via Zack Cox/NESN