FOXBORO, Mass. — JuJu Smith-Schuster has yet to practice in front of reporters since joining the Patriots in March. But his performance behind closed doors has impressed his new head coach.

Bill Belichick on Tuesday delivered a positive early review of Smith-Schuster, who projects as New England’s new No. 1 wide receiver.

“It’s been great,” Belichick said before the Patriots’ latest organized team activities practice. “He’s great to work with. Smart kid, a lot of leadership, a lot of experience. It’s been good.”

Quarterback Mac Jones had similar praise for Smith-Schuster last week, saying he and the veteran wideout quickly bonded over their love of football.

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“I think JuJu’s done a great job, also from a leadership standpoint,” Jones said. “Coming in, that’s someone who adds veteran leadership from different places. He just came off of a Super Bowl team, so what a great value to our offense. Obviously, when he gets on the field, that’s going to be great because he has the experience and he loves talking about football.

“He’s just a football nerd, I guess, kind of like me. We kind of hit it off in that regard. He’s an awesome guy, and I’m looking forward to working with all those guys in that room. I think there’s a lot of potential there.”

Smith-Schuster enters his first Patriots season with high expectations after the team chose him over reliable top target Jakobi Meyers in free agency. His signing was controversial, with former New England safety Devin McCourty saying the team would have been better off keeping Meyers.

The 26-year-old Smith-Schuster starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers early in his career and is coming off a productive campaign for the Kansas City Chiefs, catching 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns en route to a Super Bowl title. He was not present at either of the Patriots’ first two open OTAs (Tuesday and last Wednesday), but team-released photos showed he has participated in at least one practice this spring.

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Belichick said he expected Smith-Schuster, who visited the White House on Monday with his former Chiefs teammates, to be “here” Tuesday, so he might have been at the facility but not practicing. The Patriots were missing their top four receivers at Tuesday’s OTA, with Kendrick Bourne and Tyquan Thornton also sitting out and DeVante Parker present but not participating.

The Patriots are scheduled to hold their final two voluntary OTAs this Thursday and Friday before staging their three-day mandatory minicamp next week. Unless he’s dealing with an injury, media members should get their first look at Smith-Schuster no later than next Monday.

Featured image via Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY Sports Images