Injuries have heavily impacted the early development of the Patriots nine-man draft class as each of the top three selections has missed time thus far. But that hasn't prevented some from making a splash in camp and during the first half of the preseason.
Here's a look at the draft class with two exhibitions still to go:
Isaiah Wynn, T/G, first round (23rd overall) – Wynn worked mostly with the second group at tackle, first on the left side and then on the right side with LaAadrian Waddle as well. After sitting out the first preseason game, Wynn ruptured his left Achilles during his second series against the Eagles and will miss the season. Wynn's loss cuts into the depth at tackle, particularly with Marcus Cannon missing the last three weeks due to injury.
Sony Michel, RB, first round (31st overall) – Michel also has been impact by injury as a knee problem has had him on the shelf since Aug. 1. The lost development time will almost certainly limit his impact, at least early on, as he is projected to miss the entire preseason. Prior to the injury he was being used both as a runner and receiver and should factor into the backfield mix this season.
Duke Dawson, CB, second round (56th overall) – Dawson is another rookie dealing with health issues as he missed the Eagles game with an undisclosed injury. He took plenty of reps as the slot corner in the first group with mixed results, but he is a lock for the roster and, assuming the injury is not serious, should be a factor on special teams at the very least this season.
Ja'Whaun Bentley, LB, fifth round (143rd overall) – He's been the Patriots best rookie at this point, showing solid mobility in coverage and filling against the run. Bentley is emerging as a potential immediate contributor on defense.
Christian Sam, LB, sixth round (178th overall) – Sam was considered the more athletic of the rookie LBs heading into camp with some college experience as a defensive back but Bentley has overshadowed him to this point. He hasn't had many reps on defense and worked one-on-one with special teams coach Joe Judge at points during camp. If he sticks his role will be in the kicking game.
Braxton Berrios, WR, sixth round (210th overall) – Berrios is another member of the draft class who has dealt with injuries. He missed time in the spring and summer and sat out the Eagles game as well. He has yet to flash as a receiver, but the tenuous situation at the position could lead to more opportunities in the next couple of weeks.
Danny Etling, QB, seventh round (219th overall) – Watching Etling throw the football makes it easy to understand why the Patriots drafted him. But the rookie has been unable to show a grasp of the offense and has been erratic more often than not. He's been among the first on the field every day, which no doubt will endear him to the coaching staff, but he looks to need significant time to develop into a backup.
Keion Crossen, CB, seventh round (219th overall) – Crossen is an electric athlete but is extremely raw. He's also dealt with some minor injuries that have cost him valuable practice time. He's facing an uphill battle for a roster spot but the practice squad could be in his future.
Ryan Izzo, TE, seventh round (250th overall) – Izzo doesn't do anything that wows you but he has the look of a steady blocker and has shown capable hands on short and intermediate routes. Bill Belichick loves tight ends and the dearth of receivers could open the door for a spot, but the practice squad would be the more likely destination provided that Dwayne Allen sticks.