Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports that Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes has arrived at Gillette Stadium in preparation for the start of this week's mandatory mini-camp. Spikes had previously been working out at the highly-regarded Bommarito Performance training facility in Florida, choosing to skip the team's voluntary workout programs in Foxborough.
"The inside linebacker, who is in the final season of his rookie deal, did not stay away from the voluntary portion of workouts as a statement about his contract, according to a source. The decision to arrive for the start of minicamp was his plan from the start of the offseason," writes Howe.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that Patriots rookie TE Zach Sudfeld seems like a good bet to crack the Patriots' 53-man roster. Volin believes that the 6-foot-7 target measured up favorably to top tight ends in this year's draft like Tyler Eifert (21st overall) and Zach Ertz (35th overall), but various injuries throughout his college career caused him to go undrafted.
"Sudfeld caught a significantly higher percentage of targets (74.1 percent) than Eifert (61.1 percent) and Ertz (64.7 percent)," writes Volin. "He also had more "key receptions" than any of the other tight ends in the draft -- 22 that went for long yardage, converted a key third or fourth down, or was inside the red zone that gave his offense a better opportunity to score."
"But where Sudfeld really sets himself apart is with his blocking. He led all tight ends with 24 blocks that resulted in touchdowns, including 19 in the run game, five in the passing game. Travis Kelce, taken in the third round by Kansas City, had the next most touchdown-producing blocks with 10."
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that it would be a mistake to overlook WR Kamar Aiken's potential to be a factor in the receiver competition this summer.
"Could Aiken be a late bloomer who fits into the team's final receiver picture? He has good size (6-2, 213) and spent half of last year on the practice squad, which has given him a head start in the system compared to some of the players with whom he's competing," adds Reiss.
Matt Williamson of ESPN.com gives the Patriots a "C" grade based on their offseason moves to-date.
"The biggest turnover here is at WR, as Welker, who has been a rock of consistent production, is now in Denver," writes Williamson. "Amendola is younger and appears to be a suitable replacement, but true slot receivers take a beating and Amendola hasn't been able to stay on the field. Also gone is Lloyd, who never really fit in here, with Jones, Jenkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce bidding for his playing time. Dobson has the most upside, but it wouldn't surprise me if Jones saw more time early on. Someone from that group needs to step up to make the Patriots' offense complete."
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that newly-signed LB A.J. Edds is expected to be ready for training camp after missing all of last season with a knee injury.
"Edds showed enough to make the Patriots' 53-man roster back in 2011, as he has some versatility to line up at all the linebacker spots and be a factor on special teams," adds Reiss.