After watching the Patriots battle against each other the past 11 days it’s time for a nice change in the camp routine. Going against an opponent wearing a different-colored uniform in practice — which the Patriots will do against the Eagles this week — gives the players a boost and also offers a new vehicle for evaluation. With that in mind here are some of the players who stand to enhance their profile even more against live competition. Aaron Dobson Josh Boyce Kenbrell Thompkins. If any one of this rookie receiving trio doesn’t make the roster it would be surprising. To this point they’ve already shown enough for the Pats to slice a few veterans in Donald Jones and Lavelle Hawkins. Still their progression with Tom Brady is something to continue to monitor. Thompkins the undrafted member of the group has stepped to the head of the class closely followed by Dobson and then Boyce. Each of them has seen time on the first unit getting important reps with Brady. Each has flashed some positive traits whether it’s Dobson’s ability to go up and get a ball along the sideline or Thompkins’ sure hands or Boyce’s route-running. But some days you see them make mistakes — Boyce couldn’t hold on to the football yesterday — and you wonder. Going up against an opponent with the intensity level ratcheted up even more during the week should give us an even better idea about the trio. Zach Sudfeld. The rookie tight end impressed in spring camps and continues to make you take notice given how well he runs and catches the football. Yesterday he leapt over a sea of defenders and caught a Hail Mary from Brady. At 6-foot-7 260 pounds he’s roughly Rob Gronkowski’s size although he doesn’t quite have Gronk’s upper- body strength so he’s going to have to bulk up a bit for blocking purposes. Sudfeld played in a pistol-style offense in college so he’s adapting to and learning a pro-style offense. He talked about trying to adjust to all the checks and reads. The blocking schemes and techniques also are a work in progress. But he appears to be a quick study. With Gronkowski’s return from back surgery uncertain and Jake Ballard having some issues with his surgically repaired knee the door might be open for Sudfeld to land a roster spot if he can continue on a fast track. It will be interesting to see how he looks against the Eagles during the week.
Some players to watch during this week’s practices in Philly
Boston Herald | Aug 6