FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Watching the Patriots’ rookie minicamp, one aspect that stands out is the coach-to-player ratio.
There are 26 players in camp and some positions have more than others.
Running back, for instance, is a spot with a 1-to-1 ratio as vocal position coach Ivan Fears has been aggressively drilling free agent Pat Paschall of North Dakota State.
In recent years, there has been one rookie free agent who has emerged to surprisingly earn a roster spot, and Paschall is one candidate to keep on the radar considering that the Patriots didn’t select a running back in the NFL draft and they have three veterans at the position entering the final year of their contracts.
The Patriots were the only NFL team to host Paschall on a pre-draft visit.
“I was very glad that I ended up here,” Paschall said after Saturday’s practice. “I feel real comfortable and I’m getting this one-on-one coaching with Coach Ivan. I think it’s a great place that will give me an opportunity to excel.”
The 5-foot-11, 206-pound Paschall led FCS in rushing yards per game last season (139.7), but one area that has challenged him in this camp is pass-catching. He’s dropped a couple of passes over the team’s first three practices and acknowledged that he still has work to do in that area.
This highlights one of the big challenges for a lot of rookies, rounding out their skill sets, as Paschall wasn’t asked to do much pass-catching at North Dakota State.
“I split out occasionally, it was special packages and stuff like that, but mainly I was on the dot in the home position at running back,” he said.