In In yesterday's news blitz we featured an article that said Jamie Collins could become a star player in 2014. ESPN Boston's Field Yates agrees with that assessment and notes the importantance of the offseason following a players rookie season.
"New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long maintained that the offseason between a player's rookie and sophomore season is among the most critical of his career," writes Yates.
Collins is expected to start alongside Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower at linebacker week 1 against the Dolphins, but what about the other positions? Greg Knopping of SB Nation's Pats Pulpit gives his predictions for the Patriots starters on defense.
The biggest change between this year's projected defensive starters and last year's starters, is in the secondary. With the addition of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, some people have argued that the Patriots secondary may be better than Seattles. Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debated this very topic yesterday on ESPN's First Take.
According to Erik Frenz of Boston.com, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce may be battling each other for a spot on the Patriots 53-man roster. Frenz thinks that the Patriots will keep six receivers including special team's captain, Matthew Slater. Ultimately, he gives the nod to Thompkins over Boyce because of his experience in 2013 and his work during OTAs and mini-camp.
"Thompkins took time to catch on in the Patriots' offense, but flashed the ability to get open one-on-one, running crisp routes with sound technique to help him get open," writes Frenz.
As for the rest of the roster, Fansided's David Smith broke down who he thinks will be gone after the first round of cuts this summer. Based on Smith's predictions, he doesn't expect any notable names to be cut until the second round, when the roster goes from 75 to 53 players.
Rob Gronkowski was listed as the third best Patriot today as part of Masslive's daily countdown of the Patriots top ten players heading into training camp. Nick Underhill says that Gronkowski's return midway through the 2013 season transformed the New England offense into an unstoppable force.
"There's no question that Gronkowski is at least the third-most important player on the roster," says Underhill. "While upgrades have been made to the receiving corps, the Pats will need him on the field if they hope to get back to the Super Bowl."
In the final episode of NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2014, Tom Brady came in as the No. 3 player in the NFL -- one spot ahead of where he was ranked last year. Brady is the only player who has made the top five in all 4 installments of the annual show (No. 1 in 2011, No. 4 in 2012, No. 4 in 2013, No. 3 in 2014).