A breakdown of the 2016 New England Patriots draft class and its progress after two weeks of training camp.
Cyrus Jones, CB, second round: Jones is the team’s top pick (as a result of losing a first-rounder as part of the NFL’s Deflategate penalties). He hasn’t missed a practice, is a candidate to be a top kickoff and punt returner, and is competing for the top nickel role on defense. One area of inconsistency for the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Alabama alum has been muffing punts in practice.
Joe Thuney, LG, third round: The 6-foot-5, 305-pound NC State product who played all five positions in college, was inserted at left guard on the first day of spring practices and has been there since. His athleticism stands out in 1-on-1 pass-blocking drills, with the ability to move his feet and slide with defenders.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, third round: Recommended by former Patriots coach Bill Parcells, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Brissett is No. 3 on the depth chart behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, which means limited reps compared to them in practice. One of Brissett’s best assets is a strong arm, which was also evident in college at NC State.
Vincent Valentine, DT, third round: The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Nebraska alum is fifth on the depth chart behind Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, Terrance Knighton and Markus Kuhn, which means he projects to earn a roster spot, but would likely be a game-day inactive. Few players have his NFL-type size coming out of college, which is one area that enticed the Patriots to draft him.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, fourth round: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Mitchell is competing for the ‘X’ role and has impressed with his combination of speed, route-running and dependable hands. He arrived with some medical questions regarding his knee from his time at the University of Georgia, which probably explains why he’s been held out of two practices. His intangibles are off the charts.
Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB, sixth round: A hybrid linebacker/safety who has played on the Big Four special teams units, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Eastern Illinois product has a solid chance to make the team and contribute in the kicking game. On defense, his pursuit and ability to close ground quickly could ultimately make him a factor in sub packages.
Elandon Roberts, LB, sixth round: The 6-foot, 235-pound University of Houston alum was praised for his instincts at the draft, and has worked as a backup to starters Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Jonathan Freeny at the off-the-line linebacker spot. Because he isn’t showing up on top special teams units, he projects to the practice squad.
Ted Karras, C/G, sixth round: A run of injuries to others, coupled with his own performance, led to the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Karras taking first-unit reps at right guard in the team’s first full-pads practice of training camp. The Illinois alum has seemed to win over offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, and has a real chance to stick on the roster.
Devin Lucien, WR, seventh round: The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Arizona State product faces an uphill climb for a roster spot at a deep position. Belichick has called it maybe the best competition he’s seen at receiver in his 17-year tenure. That isn’t a reflection of Lucien’s work ethic, as he often stays late at practice for extra drills.