June 30, 2022


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Patriots banking on 12 months 2 leap from Nelson Agholor, Mac Jones, others – New England Patriots Weblog

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are within the fourth week of their voluntary offseason program, and veteran broad receiver Nelson Agholor already notices a distinction for himself.

“All people runs sure routes, however the route tree [here] is just a little completely different than what I’ve ran earlier than,” he mentioned. “Now I do know it, so I get to place my very own spin on how we do issues and play quick.

“Whereas a 12 months in the past, I used to be studying, so that you do issues at a sure studying tempo. You by no means get to go full velocity, since you need to be sure to’re doing it proper, so that you form of transfer with warning. Now I do know what it appears to be like like and I get to simply put my taste on it.”

That taste — for Agholor and a handful of different Patriots coming into their second season in New England — figures to be a important ingredient if coach Invoice Belichick’s squad is to enhance on final season’s 10-7 file and embarrassing 47-17 playoff loss to the Buffalo Payments.

The reason being apparent: Not like final offseason, when the Patriots spent a then-record $163 million in assured cash in free company, Belichick was extra conservative this 12 months and is banking on inside enchancment from 2021 free brokers and draft picks.

Agholor is a signature instance of this considering. He signed for 2 years, $22 million in March 2021, and his manufacturing (37 receptions, 473 yards, 3 TDs) did not match the worth tag for a wide range of causes. However he stays optimistic higher days are forward.

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“The very best half about it, 12 months 2 within the Patriots’ system is when guys actually get going. I really feel snug, I am excited to have my greatest season with the Patriots and present why I am right here,” he mentioned.

Agholor joins fellow returnees Jakobi Meyers (team-high 83 catches for 866 yards, 2 TDs) and Kendrick Bourne (55 for 800, 5 TDs) atop the receiver depth chart, with veteran commerce acquisition DeVante Parker and speedy second-round choose Tyquan Thornton finishing the highest 5.

Second-year jumps aren’t assured, and loads of gamers function reminders that it could go in the wrong way. Receiver N’Keal Harry, cornerback Joejuan Williams, tight finish Devin Asiasi, and linebackers Josh Uche, Chase Winovich and Anfernee Jennings are just a few who come to thoughts.

With Agholor as a springboard, listed here are different gamers acquired in 2021 who the Patriots have to make a major second-year leap:

Tight finish Jonnu Smith: He signed for 4 years, $50 million and completed with simply 28 receptions for 294 yards and a landing final season. He made a major change in hopes of a rebound, changing into a full-time participant within the voluntary offseason program. He wasn’t in this system final 12 months, partly because of anticipating the start of his daughter and COVID-19 concerns.

QB Mac Jones: The fifteenth total choose completed second in Related Press Offensive Rookie of the 12 months voting, so his “leap” slots into a distinct class — management. Jones already appears to be embracing it, and he’s extra snug in doing issues like opening his residence to teammates on the primary night time of the draft and having a hibachi chef readily available. Mentioned proprietor Robert Kraft in late March: “I truly consider [Jones] has just a little extra edge than we have seen. However he is been respectful.”

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Linebacker Cameron McGrone: When the Patriots chosen the Michigan standout within the fifth spherical, they knew he in all probability would not play as a rookie as he recovered from a torn left ACL suffered in his remaining school season. McGrone did return to follow by the tip of final season (he wasn’t activated to the roster), and inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo may need had him on his thoughts when he was requested on the “Pats from the Previous” podcast about fewer three-down linebackers popping out of faculty. Mentioned Mayo: “We’ve some guys who can rush and canopy, some guys that Pats Nation hasn’t even heard of.”

Linebacker Ronnie Perkins: The third-round choose from Oklahoma (96th total) did not seem in a single recreation, partly as a result of Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy have been entrenched atop the skin linebacker depth chart. He was usually noticed earlier than video games engaged on pass-rush approach with director of talent improvement Joe Kim, and now has a clearer path to a job after the workforce launched Van Noy (Chargers) … if he proves he deserves it.

Cornerback Shaun Wade: The Ohio State alum was chosen within the fifth spherical by the Ravens, and the Patriots traded for him on the finish of the preseason, giving up a 2022 seventh-round choose and a 2023 fifth-rounder. However the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Wade performed in simply three video games, partly because of harm, but additionally due to a studying curve after arriving so late. Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino made the purpose final season that Wade was primarily studying a brand new language. The Patriots have a notable void at cornerback after J.C. Jackson’s free-agent departure, and Wade will compete for it.


Linebacker Raekwon McMillan: The veteran was approaching sturdy in coaching camp final 12 months earlier than tearing his left ACL and lacking the season. Given his harm historical past, banking on him over the course of a 17-game season comes with notable threat. Final 12 months earlier than the harm, Belichick had mentioned: “I have been very impressed along with his intelligence, his work ethic. He is locked in daily.”

Security Joshuah Bledsoe: A sixth-round choose from Missouri, he arrived on the town with an injured wrist and spent many of the 12 months rehabbing earlier than returning to follow late within the season. He by no means appeared in a recreation. If wholesome, he has a respectable probability to be a part of the workforce’s future based mostly on some promising behind-the-scenes improvement.