Patriots OTA observations: Rookie WR N'Keal Harry stands out

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

FOXBORO -- The Patriots held their third OTA session of the spring and first open to the media Thursday morning on the upper grass fields behind Gillette Stadium.

The session lasted just under two hours and due to league rules there was no contact and no pads.

Here are the 14 players who missed the session: punter Ryan Allen, quarterback Tom Brady, safety Patrick Chung, running back Sony Michel, safety Nate Ebner, long-snapper Joe Cardona, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, offensive lineman Yodney Cajuste, running back Nick Brossette, offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, defensive lineman Michael Bennett, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and defensive end Deatrich Wise.

Following are some quick observations from what we saw.

-- As expected, with Brady absent, the depth chart went Brian Hoyer, Danny Etling and Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. In 11-on-11 work, Hoyer went 9-for-13, Etling 6-for-12 and Stidham 6-for-13. Hoyer didn't do anything spectacular, although he was picked off by defensive lineman Adam Butler. Etling had an up-and-down day making a few decent throws early, but struggled with fade throws later on. Stidham looked like a rookie, but he's expected to get better as the days go on.

-- With Wynn and Cajuste not present, Joe Thuney saw some action at left tackle.

-- One of the bigger standouts of the day was rookie receiver N'Keal Harry, who made several contested catches in 11-on-11 work and also showed the ability to play inside. He did drop a pass, but overall it was a good first impression for the Patriots first-round pick. It was said he's most known for his ability to go up and get the football and that is what he did on several occasions Thursday. It doesn't mean as much without Brady, but still a good sign.

-- J.C. Jackson and rookie Joejuan Williams were the standouts among defensive backs in 11-on-11 work, both breaking up several passes.

-- The following players returned punts: Harry, Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Phillip Dorsett, Ryan Davis and an unknown rookie wide receiver who wore No. 72, Jonathan Jones and Rex Burkhead.

-- Rookie punter Jake Bailey displayed his massive leg with tons of hang time on his punts. Selected in the fifth round, he appears to have a decent chance of beating out Ryan Allen, who was not present.

-- Dont'a Hightower has indeed slimmed down a bit, which was teased in pictures of him on social media of late. 

-- Director of player personnel Nick Caserio spent time as a receiver. In recent years, the college QB has taken reps at that position.

-- Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk were on the field in Patriots gear and appeared to have active roles.

-- Players and coaches wore Bruins hats to show their support for the team as they prepare for the Stanley Cup Final.