FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib has drawn the opponent's top receiver for much of his six-year NFL career, giving him a unique feel for what it takes to be successful as a wideout at the pro level.
There's a long road ahead for Patriots rookie wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, but each has been sharp in early workouts during training camp. With the pads coming on on Sunday, players were able to ramp up the tempo and physicality, as defensive backs challenged receivers in one-on-one drills.
Talib has already noticed one trait that Dobson and Thompkins share, highlighting their ability to release off the line.
"[Dobson's] got good releases off the line," Talib told reporters on Sunday. "That's what I think he does real good. Him, KT [Thompkins], they're both pretty good at releasing off the line."
Pressed further on what traits makes them successful at releasing off the line, Talib offered, "I don't know what it is, speed, quickness, strength. You either got it or you don't. They got it."
Dobson (6-foot-3, 200) and Thompkins (6-foot-1, 195) have comparable frames, and each has earned reps with the top receiving personnel group, working on the perimeter. The two had different entry paths to the NFL, however, as Dobson was a second-round choice, while Thompkins was bypassed in the draft altogether.
Talib shared praise for a fellow defensive back, too, noting that Alfonzo Dennard has trimmed down this offseason. Dennard was a standout performer during Saturday's workout, breaking up multiple passes and intercepting another.
"We've seen it all the way through OTA's and everything," Talib said of Dennard's improvement. "He dropped a little weight, and he's definitely out here moving better and he look real good right now."
Depending on the outcome of Dennard's pending case relating to a recent arrest for a suspicion of DUI charge, the Patriots will count on Dennard, Talib and Kyle Arrington as their top three cornerbacks.
Talib, entering his first full season as a Patriot, has quickly grown comfortable with the pair of other top cornerbacks.
"[We're] good," he said. "We laugh, we joke, we help each other in the classroom, on and off the field; [we're] good."