Patriots’ rookies assigned real numbers

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For years Bill Belichick and the Patriots have had a tradition of rookies wearing non-traditional numbers from the time of their arrival in New England in the spring up until the first preseason game.

Each year draft picks and undrafted players are assigned spring numbers beginning in the low-50s. This year’s first-round pick, Cole Strange, didn’t look out of place in No. 50. But slender, speedy second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton didn’t exactly fit into his No. 51.

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Now though, with the arrival of the first preseason game Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots must conform to NFL jersey guidelines and the rookies have been assigned numbers in line with their positions, though these numbers could still change prior to the start of the regular season.

Here are New England’s rookies’ new numbers:

G Cole Strange – 69

WR Tyquan Thornton – 11

CB Marcus Jones – 25

CB Jack Jones –34

RB Pierre Strong Jr. – 35

QB Bailey Zappe – 4

RB Kevin Harris – 36

DL Sam Roberts – 96

OL Chasen Hines – 63 (unchanged)

OL Andrew Stueber -- 64

DL DaMarcus Mitchell – 97

DL LaBryan Ray – 74

DB Brenden Schooler – 41

P Jake Julien – 9

OL Kody Russey – 66 (unchanged)