FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have their first public training camp practice on Thursday, July 27. As part of the lead up to camp, one position will be spotlighted each weekday to highlight the team's personnel and some of the storylines of note.
Today, we're leading off with wide receivers.
Roster locks: Amendola, Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell, Slater.
Health report: Mitchell, who had an impressive rookie season and came up big in the second half of the Super Bowl, didn't participate in spring practices. Going back to last year's training camp, the club has managed Mitchell, who has a history of knee injuries, carefully. How the Patriots do that at the start of training camp bears watching.
Hawkins a wild card: On most NFL rosters, Hawkins would be viewed as a roster lock based on his past production and skill set. Yet in signing a one-year, minimum-level deal in New England, he joined a crowded depth chart in hopes of being part of the team's winning culture. Keeping more than six receivers (even with Slater more of a special-teamer than pass-catcher) would be unlikely, which makes Hawkins' status one intriguing camp storyline.
Rookies in focus: Carr, out of Northwestern, was the Big 10 receiver of the year in 2016. Hollister was a special-teams standout at Arkansas. Both signed with the Patriots as undrafted free agents.
Quote of note: "Since I've owned the team, the only player that could make an impact like that at wide receiver was Randy Moss. He doesn't have his height, but it looks like he has his speed. I think that's complementary to what we have on the team, and I'm excited about enjoying this." -- Robert Kraft, on Cooks, from March 27.