5 things we’ll be watching at Patriots minicamp


This is a big week for the Patriots as they will hold mandatory minicamp the next three days at Gillette Stadium.

It will be the only three days where the entire team is together before training camp, so the intensity likely will be higher than a typical OTA session. The biggest thing that will standout is Tom Brady’s presence, as he has opted to skip OTAs for a second straight year.

While the sessions are held without pads, there will still be plenty of things to watch.

Here are the five biggest things we’ll be keeping an eye on.

1. Tom Brady-N’Keal Harry relationship

Brady will certainly be the biggest topic of discussion, but the most important thing for him this week is developing chemistry with his new receivers, especially Harry, who was the Patriots' first-round selection. Based on social media pictures, the two worked out together at Brady’s house recently, but that wasn’t on a field with other players. Harry was one of the biggest standouts at the session open to the media a few weeks back, so it will be worth watching to see if he can replicate it with Brady throwing him the majority of the passes and not backups.

2. What’s going on at left tackle?

This is a developing situation as many assumed Isaiah Wynn would be ready for the regular season following a torn Achilles suffered last summer and replace Trent Brown, but he wasn’t on the field a few weeks ago. Add in the fact veteran Jared Veldheer unexpectedly retired just a week or so after joining the team, suddenly there’s some questions about the position. Joe Thuney saw some work at the position a few weeks ago, so perhaps the team could move him back to the position he played in college if needed. It’s certainly a position that deserves more attention than it is getting.

3. Cornerback situation 

This position is one of the more competitive on the team with a number of players competing for roster spots and playing time. There’s been a lot of high expectations set on J.C. Jackson following his strong play down the stretch last year and it will be worth watching how he looks going against some of the Patriots’ top receivers. Also, it’s a big summer for Duke Dawson, the team’s second-round pick last year, as he needs to prove he deserves a spot on the roster. If Jackson continues his impressive play, the team can get creative with Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones, and then it seems likely the final roster spot at the position will come down to Dawson and Keion Crossen.

4. Sony Michel workload

Michel was another player not present at the previous OTA session open to the media, but based on team released video, he was participating earlier that week. This may be a case where the team his managing him this offseason to make sure he’s fresh and healthy when things matter most. The team did draft Damien Harris in the third round, who could take some reps away from Michel. It will be worth keeping an eye on the reps and see how they are split at this position, especially between Michel and Harris.

5. Punter competition

Ryan Allen wasn’t present at the only OTA session open to the media earlier in the spring, so this will be the first time we see Allen and rookie Jake Bailey kicking on the field at the same time. Bailey showed off his powerful leg that day, so it will be interesting to see if he can replicate it, and then how it compares side-by-side to Allen. He only signed a one-year deal this offseason, so if Bailey is that impressive there’s a chance the Patriots move on from him.