The New England Patriots are set to kick-off their two day rookie minicamp with media access starting Friday and continuing on Saturday (practices are closed to the public). It's always an exciting time for fans, as they get to see their team's rookies don their "numbers" for the very first time. That being said, here are a few things to watch for each Patriots draft pick when it comes to rookie camp:
Chandler Jones, DE: I'm intrigued to see whether or not the Patriots work with Jones at outside linebacker at all. Rookie minicamp is really a time for learning the basics. Nonetheless, we can still also get some type of indication of how a team intends to use a player.
Dont'a Hightower, LB: The Patriots second pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Dont'a Hightower could easily factor in at any number of positions along the front seven. He can play inside in the 3-4, outside in the 3-4, at defensive end in the 4-3, and likely SLB in the 4-3. As with Jones, it will be interesting to watch where the Patriots line Dont'a Hightower up on his first day.
Tavon Wilson, S: Bill Belichick's decision to draft Wilson in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft raised a lot of eyebrows and was widely considered a "reach." This weekend will be Wilson's first opportunity to prove those doubters wrong, even if it really is just an "instructional camp."
Jake Bequette, DE: Like Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette will have the opportunity to impact the Patriots' pass rush positively from day one. And like Jones, I'll be intrigued to see where the Patriots line up Bequette during minicamp.
Nate Ebner, DB/ST: We know Ebner can fly up and down the field in kick coverage units, but rookie camp will be one of Ebner's first chances to work with the Patriots staff in becoming a well-rounded defensive player.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB: Due to legal issues, Dennard fell all the way to the seventh round in the 2012 NFL Draft. Going by his initial draft stock, the Patriots got excellent value for him there, but will he keep it together? Doubt we'll be able to tell from one minicamp, but hopefully he'll be able to make a positive impression.
Jeremy Ebert, WR: Considering the veteran depth the Patriots have at the wide receiver position, Ebert will face an uphill battle for a roster spot. Nonetheless, with Wes Welker holding out, it will be interesting to see if the Patriots see Ebert as a slot receiver.
Undrafted Free Agents: The Patriots have yet to officially announce their list of undrafted free agents, but it should include the likes of Marcus Forston, Jeremiah Warren and Brandon Bolden - all players who'll have a shot at making the roster.