Minicamp is done and the players will now enjoy some time to rest and prepare for next month's training camp. The competition should ramp up considerably once the pads are on and the contact starts, but until then we're left with a few practices in shorts and T-shirts to gauge the 2019 Patriots.
Specifically, we're interested in the newcomers and other players who have yet to don a Patriots uniform in a game. Last year's draft class featured many such players as more than half wound up on injured reserve.
So this week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is pretty simple: Which newcomer stood out the most during minicamp?
Megan O'Brien says ...
You couldn't read an article about last week's mandatory minicamp without seeing the name Braxton Berrios. After spending his first season on IR, some Patriots fans may have forgotten about the Patriots 2018 sixth-round draft pick. Learn his name now. It will come in handy.
The shifty 5-9 slot receiver made what I'm going to call the catch of minicamp on the opening day as he dove down the right sideline to grab a sideline pass from Brian Hoyer. Now it was only one catch, but Berrios continued to pop throughout camp.
We know the Patriots need help at wide receiver. Many are counting on first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry to help in that department, but to put all hope in one rookie is unreasonable. Berrios has spent a year in New England learning the playbook and working with the coaching staff. Plus, he is a different type of receiver than Harry.
Learn his name and keep an eye on Berrios because come training camp, he could turn some heads.
Paul Perillo says ...
It's always hard to make evaluations when Bill Belichick is constantly telling us these camps aren't for evaluating, but let's face it: we do it anyway. To me, the guy who really stood out during minicamp was Damien Harris.
The rookie third-round pick should provide some added depth and talent to a deep and talented backfield, and considering the way he was moving on the practice fields his role may be larger than many anticipated. Harris looked comfortable running between the tackles and moving out of the backfield as a receiver. He showed some explosiveness and agility, albeit without pads.
Many scouting reports indicated he was comfortable as a receiver and in pass protection, and those traits could give him some added reps in his rookie season. There's a long way to go before football starts for real but Harris made a solid first impression during minicamp.