Patriots Rookie Mini-Camp Recap

After picking up twelve players in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Patriots held their Rookie Mini-Camp over the last couple of days.

Extra Points has a nice piece on Ross Ventrone, brother of former Patriot Ray Ventrone, who has signed as a undrafted free agent with the Patriots.

Brandon Spikes and Taylor Price were two that impressed many lookers-on at the Patriots rookie camp. Spikes with his desire, work ethic, and pass-coverage skills, and Price with his solid route-running.

Jermaine Cunningham spent time at the ROLB postion, looking decent in coverage. 1st Round pick Devin McCourty spent most of his time at the LCB position, where he could end up playing ahead of Darius Butler.

Aaron Hernandez wasn’t allowed to talk to the press after drug-related questions dogged him this last week. He spent the two days lining up as the receiver-centric “F” tight-end, while fellow draft-pick Rob Gronkowski lined up at the “Y” position.

The Patriots will be back May 17th.

Tags: Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, Devin McCourty, Jermaine Cunningham, Practice Notes, Rob Gronkowski, Taylor Price

17 Responses to “Patriots Rookie Mini-Camp Recap”

  1. Anonymous says:

    New England may have picked a sleeper CB in Terrence Johnson. Outstanding Player .

  2. Jared says:

    In my last post i said Moss averaged one catch a game in '07. It was one catch a game in the playoffs…Moss has more talent in his right leg than Deion Branch does in his whole body, but Branch caught 11 passes in a Super Bowl- you do the math

  3. Jared says:

    I agree that after next years draft…The Pats could have some seious young talent on this roster. 3 top 40 picks!!! Probly trade one for 2012. But they should get at least two studs at either DE, LB, WR, or RB. Or at that point maybe a guard or tackle, I'd rather Bill keep the OL picks after around pick 50- Bill is just so good at projecting underrated OL talent. looking at early prospects and mock drafts for next year…. Loaded WR class, and on defense, lots of big D-lineman and DE/OLB conversion guys. Setting up good for them… and if I had to guess, after striking out with Maroney, Bill wont be in a rush to take a RB in the 1st rnd next year either- i know you hope im wrong with that one Ryan. But Bill showed this year that even though he has a bad history at a certain position(TE), that he will still pull the trigger on taking more. Hes had more bad picks than good ones at WR,RB, & TE. But next year, with Moss and your whole stable of RB's contracts' beeing up… Bill is going to be forced to go to the skill position well again, at RB & WR, hopefully TE is set. I hope they dont resign Moss, his strengths play towards regular season play, not playoffs. He is a deep threat, but you dont pay a guy $9 million to be a threat in January, you pay him to get open & make plays. Randy hasn't shown the ability to be a go-to guy on any specific down, he has trouble with physical coverage and can't consistently get open on quick plays- which is what the pass offense was when they were on top. Running the ball, screens, quick slants, TE's in the redzone…. the day they got Moss I was excited as anyone. But in the long run, our offense became – long to Moss or short to Welker. On the greatest offense of all time(07 Pats) Moss averaged 1 catch a game!!! We need to find a top-flight talent that can do it all, catch screens, run after the catch, go over the middle, block, things that most wideouts are asked to do. Moss is a one trick pony at this point of his career, and it will only be worse if hes playing here a year and a half from now under a new contract. We are stocking up on young defensive players, time to get some young weapons in here. Brady and the Pats were at their best when Bradys' favorite guy was the open one. Hopefully getting three guys in the draft & signing T.Holt is a sign of things to come. Between WR & RB, next year… trade for or sign one in free-agency, and draft the best one at the other position. If i had to kind of predict what our offense will look like in 2011-12…WR. #1. Need a number 1(not Moss), best players are slot guys. Need someone with big-play, downfield potential. #2. Torry Holt for one more year, if Holt or Price play good enough to be a starter next year, that would be huge. Have to throw in Tate…even tho ur dreamin.#3/slot. Edleman over Welker, sky is the limit for Edleman, tough road back to beeing his lightning-quick self.#4. 4th WR could be anyone, Holt, Price, Tate, Hernandez,FA or rookie.TE-#1. Gronkowski-starting. #2.Crumpler will be gone, probly draft or sign another TE who can block. So Hernandez/new guy.RB#1. Need a starter- trade for one, sign one, or draft one. Dont care how they get him but they need a starter.#2. Barring an injury, they could stretch one more- one year contract out of Kevin Faulk. #3. Maroney,Morris,& Taylor will be looking for work next year. I say they sign the one that plays the best this year to be in the rotation next year.On the O-line, hopefully the only starter we will need to replace is Stephen Neal , & not Mankins as well. Need to figure out who will replace Light & Koppen sometime in the next 2 years as well.JNIMS

  4. Ryan says:

    Jared-We'll see about Tate, I'd love for him to be a stud. He probably has the playbook down which means he is one up on Price. However, with out Moss next year, we are going to need a whole squad of top notch recievers to be able to compete. We really need a deep threat, I say just resign Moss. What are your thoughts on the O-line, have you checked out the latest depth chart. We are almost 3-4 deep at every position. Which is just awesome! Between this draft and the next, we are going to have a young team ready to win. I think even next year we will be alot better.

  5. Jared says:

    John-The one i posted earlier was rating this years draft… heres mine for '09…Biggest surprise and find is Edleman. I think Edleman could be as good as Welker & better after the catch. He was the obvious best pick because it was in the 7th rnd.Best pick in the rest of the bunch was Volmer. A reach when he picked him but the LT of the future in the 2nd rnd??!!!. 3rd best pick-Butler. Definately a starter as at least a nickel back, maybe even a corner. Chung, I think was drafted to be the SS of the future. But i think overall we will(or I will) remember the guys they passed up when they traded down to ge him(Oher,Mathews Jr,V.Davis). Ron Brace…hands down worst pick, Bill must of not watched Brace get his ass kicked by double teams when ever BJ Raji wasnt in the game. Some people have faith that he could step up and be Vince's backup this year, not me. McKenzie and Tate… obviously incompletes last year. Once again I would be surprised if EITHER player made contributions somewhere besides special teams this year. Tate had his second season-ending knee injury last year. McKenzie, comes from a small conference n school, big jump to the pro level anyways, then tears up his knee. Not to mention neither are near the top of the depth chart. Bill also might have found a couple of late rnd OL depth too w/ Levoir and Orhnberger-probly butchered their names Overall, w/ Volmer,Edelman, & Butler alone, its a good draft. Chung is the wild-card, if he ends up starting it will be one of Bills' best, different 1st pick would have made it maybe his best. But the Brace pick high in the 2nd rnd kills it for me…if only anyone actually watched BC. If Chung is a legit starter: B+/ A-, If Chung is another mediocure role player: B.JNIMS

  6. Jared says:

    I loved Tate coming out of UNC, even w/the knee injury. But there is only one consistent spot in the Pats offense to be had. Holt will be the leading candidate to get the 3rd reciever spot. If all goes as planned and hes the 3rd WR. Then Tate will have to battle with Taylor Price and Aaron Hernandez for next reciever in on 4 WR spreads. Looking back on last year now, Tate would have had a chance to start last year with Greg Lewis & Joey Galloway being totally useless. Its a sad story, but to expect anything from a guy that hasn't played football in more than two years, and has yet to actually ever play at an NFL level is unrealistic. JNIMS

  7. Jared says:

    The only game Taylor got serious carries last year…was against Atlanta. Off the top of my head he had the best game of any RB we had last year. Over 100 yds and 2 TD's. 12th in the NFL in rushing last year. One more year of the five player rotation, unless one gets cut but I dont see it.I do think the best LB's will start, that wont be McKenzie, maybe special teams-once again, hope im wrong.JNIMS

  8. Ryan says:

    Jared-Alright bro, I'll agree with Crable, as much as I do not want, and the same goes with Brace, and probably Pryor. However, with Tate I'm not ready to give up on yet, or McKenzie, but I have no IDEA where McKenzie is going to go? Maybe OLB or special teams, or special packages. That being said the best ILB/OLB will be out there on game day and that may or may not be Spikes or Guyton.One more note on the RB situation, we have yet to say Taylor play I think? Did he even play a game last year? I dont remember him playing a game. But I think he will help out a lot. But we'll see, if Maroney could have like 6 or 7 good gams Id be ok with that. The TE is going to help us the most in my opinion.

  9. Jared says:

    Ryan, totally agree with the possibilities that the Pats offense could be more dynamic even without Welker this year. I think Holt is the wild-card, if he can just keep the opposing defense honest in one side of the feild, with Moss on the other side… Edelman, Price, & and the TE's could cause problems for teams in the middle of the field. Two more things…. i agree with a lot if what you say Ryan but….Having a great RB in the Pats scheme is a luxury, its not vital. I do agree that next year a turnover at RB is needed, but with a ton of holes, Bill had to put something on the back-burner. It had to be RB, 12th in the league last year in rushing with Taylor, Maroney, Faulk, Morris & even Benjarvis G-Ellis. Not great but if they can win a ring with Antoine Smith and J.R. Redman, they can do it with the FIVE I just named.Little more negativity on my part: the following are my perdictions & I hope im wrong… Brace is a bust, Crable is injured and when healthy, never made a play anyways-he just as an NFL body, not an NFL player. This last one I'l take a lot of crap for sayin is anything they get from McCenkzie or Tate is a bonus. The two already would of had problems seeing the field anyways, now with both their brutal knee injuries & Bill having added players at their respective positions in this years draft will make it tough for them to see the field. Hopefully its just my glass half empty mentality kicking in at this point, but if you ask me…. not one of them( Brace, Crable, McKenzie & Tate) i dont expect a real contribution from any of them.JNIMS

  10. Ryan says:

    John-As I was getting around this morning, I was thinking about my last post. I forgot one crucial player in the 2009 draft. Sabastian Vollemer, he was probably the steal of the draft. And after they reranked players at the end of the season and kind of state where they would fall if they were to be drafted again. I think he was like 6th or 9th over all. So while I know you feel we had a few busts, dont give up yet. The 2009 class and the 2010 class will be forced to take large leaps, and will have to make impacts on the team at some point. Stay positive. I agree with Jareds post, this may have been one of our best drafts in 5 yrs if not more. Hopefully, they can all stay health.

  11. Jared says:

    Hi John, you got some seious seniority over me as a Pats fan but my father still talks about that call in 76', so he feels your pain. I just tell him the "tuck rule" was a make-up call 25 years in the making.About your two questions…McCourty over Wilson???? Every team has their own evaluation on players. Judging by the sometimes "off the radar" picks BB makes, his evaluations aren't swayed by other teams as much as it would for other talent evaluators. Watching countless hrs of draft evaluators on numerous channels told me a lot of people were mixed on who was better, Wilson or McCourty??? Some said, and some still think, the Jets got the best "cover corner" in the draft with Wilson. But McCourty is widely considered the better all around player. Wilson is thought to be more of a one-trick pony. While McCourty, led the nation in tackles as a corner, made big plays on special teams, and is said to be the best physical-press corner in the draft. Wilson seems to be a lot like Darius Butler who the Pats took high last year. Both smaller, less physical, cover only type guys. While McCourty could eventually be the guy to start on one side and match up with big WR's like say… B.Marshall in Miami. While Butler plays the nickel.The icing on the McCourty pick was his inpecable track record as being a good overall guy, as intelligent and mature as you could ever ask for a kid coming out of college. Bills' worst draft picks were players with all the physical tools, but were maybe soft or just not that good of player(Chad Jackson, Ben Watson, Laurence Maroney).I think Bill had a common trend in this years draft… tough, physical,smart,"football players". I know its corny but with all the youth that is going to be injected between last years draft and next years draft…it was now or maybe never. I've heard BB and captain Vince both mention getting players that will"go to war with them" this year…( bye-bye Adalius). Bill took 5 team captains with his 12 picks. Robert Krafts' first words to my favorite pick Brandon Spikes was "this team could use some of your leadership". I think theyre was a serious effort to take mentally tough players with all of their picks.Overall, I was infuriated when they took a corner 1st, I've since calmed down. I love their draft overrall. Too many needs to fill all of the holes they had in one draft… but they turned at least 3 positions of weakness into a strength( TE,MLB, corner, and punter for that matter.) And added what is hopefully a good WR and a good OLB. I wanted them to take a 3-4 DE or a top-rated OLB. But after all the chips fall and you look at what was available early, I have come to the conclusion that the guy they wanted didn't exist in this draft. All their high picks this year had another common theme to me.. Players with first-round talent, whos stock had fallen due to different things… Spikes-40 yd dask time, McCourty-poor ball skills,Gronkowski-back surgery, Cunningham-was hurt during combine & Florida pro-day, even Hernendez in the 4th has 2nd rnd talent but dropped to to reported failed drug teast for pot. McCourty is a cant miss, but otherwise, high risk – high reward players were takin. If the risk was worth it for even half of them, it will be a good draft. We won't know how good this class is for at least 2 yrs. But with the players they got, and BB working his magic to gain a top 40 pick next year for nothing this year was gravy… When all said and done, I think it will be one of Bills' best drafts. I would give it a solid. B+ overrall. With 12 picks, I predict that Spikes, McCourty, Gronkowski- and Zoltan the punter will be starting in wk 1. Hernandez, Price, and Cunningham will also be getting serious time. Hope that book i just wrote answers your questions John… root em in!!JNIMS

  12. Ryan says:

    Jared-Love Spikes ability to shed blockers and get to the QB. I'm not going to lie, I'm a Cunningham fan. I think he could be a diamond in the rough. But most likely he will be a bust. In all reality we needed two OLB's :( . Our secondary is going to be top notch. I hope we can obtain a sold OLB or DE somewhere. Sources say no.The Offense:TE's:Crumpler, Hernandez and GronkWR:Moss, Edelman, Tate, Holt, Price, Welker, et alRB's:I dont want to talk about it.All I can say is that the opponents will have a lot more to focus on rather than Moss and Welker like all of last year. I bet it was easy for them to watch tape because we had absolutely NO threats. I am very excited to see how it all works out. I have this theory about the D: NOW listen to the whole thing. I think he wants to get younger while getting good guys who can play well together, and through that naturally getting to the passer will develope. What do you think? (its a long shot)

  13. Ryan says:

    John-A few thoughts, on McCourty and the 2009 draft. On McCourty, I believe in my opinion as a person being reliable, and working hard as well as have tremendous abilities on special teams was a better pick than Wilson. Wilson probably recieved more hype because of playing for Boise St. In all honesty, the Patriots rate players differently, the want team leaders dedicated players, team members. I think that had a lot to do with it.As for the 2009 picks, first that draft wasn't as deep as this years draft. Therefore to compare talent to this years is impossible. However, their draft at best would probably be a B, DO NOT COUNT THEM OUT YET. They actually recieved two first round graded players last year, Brandon Tate (2nd round I think, because of an ACL tear) and Darius Butler (because Bill moved around well). Tyrone McKenzie definitely has a possibility at some playing time, he also got injured at the beginning of the season. Chung, I think will play a lot this year (he played started every game in Oregon and did push ups and sit ups during practice while on the side lines, he loves football) he played 20% last year, which for Bill B is a lot. Bill usually brings players along at a slow pace. Because the system is so complex. Now the downside, Brace and Pryor. I think Brace was a reach, I think Bill was thinking he contributed more towards Bj Raji, but as it looks they were both a bust. I think if they were farther along Bill would not have brought in TWO more DL guys. But I think Bill is going to snag one next year in the 1st round, there are some awesome prospects. Who are Big like Seymour, which he wants. I dont think this year he wanted to waste a pick on someone who would only be a short term repair.Orhnberger, I think may be able to make a difference but we'll see. I'm not really an O-line afficiando.John, one thing to keep in mind. Two years ago the Pats had one of the oldest if not the oldest Defenses in the league. As of late we may have one of the youngest. We are defintely at a rebuilding stage, but to be honest it could be A LOT worse.

  14. John says:

    I appreciate the information that Ryan and Jared posted. I've been a Patriot fan since 1976 (I was 13yrs. old then) and I'm still pissed off about the roughing the passer call on NE against the Oakland Raiders in the 1976 playoffs that cost them the game. Guys like John Hannah, Russ Francis, Mike Haynes, Sam Cunningham, Steve Nelson and Steve Grogan to name a few should have had a Superbowl ring that year. I'm thankful they won 3 superbowls with Tom Brady to help me forget about the past. I have 2 questions to ask any patriot fan. Why did BB chose CB Devin McCourty over CB Kyle Wilson? Does anyone give the 2009 patriots draft a higher rating than a C?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Love the recap and while it's too early to know much about these new players I feel optimistic. Don't forget last years draftees either. Pat Chung, McKenzie and Ornberger (and it's hoped Brace) will make significant contributions this coming year.The fact NFLDraftScout.com says McCourty is a shutdown corner makes me believe this guy is going to be a key addition and I'm psyched he's on the Pats. Seems to be a lot of young talent coming into the organization – let's just hope it's better than the other teams overall.

  16. Jared says:

    Watsup Ryan…I'm with you on things looking up, and the Pats aren't done adding pieces. On Patriots All-Access-Nick Caserio, our personnel guy, made it sound like in the next two months the Pats could be still looking to add players if they feel they need to. About Warren and Lewis, both big-time under-acheivers and close to the end of their career. That 3-4 DE didnt get filled in the draft. That beeing said if either Warren or Lewis can be a consistant contributor at the position it would be huge, i wouldn't give my hopes up though. Bill has to be scouting D-lineman in next years draft already, specially with potentially 4 top 40 picks.Somewhere in the evoltuion of Bradys offense… tight-ends became nothin more than an extra blocker. Some people didn't like the drafting of 2 TE's… the two are so very different and can help RIGHT AWAY in different ways. Redzone and 3rd down especially. As for Price…as you said-time will tell. 3rd or 4th rnd WR's can go either way, especially in NE's system. Hopefully he can contribute THIS year. I still think Spikes waqs their best pick. Natural 3-4 MLB, w/all the intagibles (instincts,toughness,leadership). He should start and vastly improve our D right away. Cunningham, another who-knows in my opinion, lot of GOOD skills but no GREAT ones. McCourty, i think starts at outside DB wk 1. I just think Butler is made for beeing a nickel back, and w/McCourty tackling and toughness, he could be a more well-rounded corner.One thing no one has talked about… Spikes showed the abilty to beat SEC tackles and get to the QB on 3rd down. Spikes playing 1st and second in the middle, being replaced by Guyton on 3rd down to cover while Spikes acts as a pass-rusher could be an option. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but it could.JNMS

  17. Ryan says:

    To be honest at first I think many fan's including myself figured that we did very little to better our offense. I completely disagree at this point, after doing some research on the use of TE's it has come apparent that in the red zone, blocking blitzing and of course just running traditional routes such as pulling off safetys will greatly affect our time. The Pats lost a couple games last year that were very close, and could have gone the other way if we had converted in the red zone. Taylor Price has become very highly praised as a good route runner with great hands, however, nothing is set in stone. But at this point I'm beginning to feel much better about the draft. Would still like a RB, but "Rome was not built in a day." I am also feeling much better about our DL, Warren and Lewis from what I have read should make a difference because we will be able to rotate players in and out more often. On ESPN great article about Warren, and Lewis both first round picks in 2001. Some believe they haven't lived up to their expectations as of yet. We will see if they make the cut. But I think things are looking up. Mayo and Spike in the Middle will be good to have some run sport. Perhaps the best aspect, McCourty on the outside, three top notch DB's will definitely help out on the passing aspect. ONLY time will tell. But as of now I'm feeling much better about the draft.






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