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OTAs start today: Recapping the New England Patriots offseason

The Patriots finished the 2015 season with a 12-4 record and ultimately falling short of back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. The Patriots made some major moves in the offseason, picking up a TE to pair up with Rob Gronkowski, their starting weak-side linebacker, rotational pass rusher, and a rotational run stuffer. The Patriots once again appear primed for another deep playoff run going into 2016. Here's a brief recap of their major offseason moves.

Major FA/Trade acquisitions:

  • TE Martellus Bennett, Bears
  • LB Shea McClellin, Bears
  • WR Chris Hogan, Bills
  • DT Terrance Knighton, Redskins
  • DE Chris Long, Rams
  • OG Jonathan Cooper
  • Cyrus Jones
  • Joe Thuney
  • Jacoby Brissett
  • Vincent Valentine
  • Malcolm Mitchell
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill
  • Elandon Roberts
  • Devin Lucien
The Patriots have a few interesting players from that draft class, four of whom could start almost immediately if given the opportunity. Cyrus Jones, Joe Thuney, Vincent Valentine, and Malcolm Mitchell are players that are a big part of the team's current and future plans. I expect those guys to compete for jobs in training camp and the roster currently set as is doesn't afford them an opportunity to start, I expect at least one of them to force their way into the starting lineup. Of this group, I'm most high on WR Malcolm Mitchell, who is arguably the most perfect Patriots WR prospect since they drafted Deion Branch in 2002.

OTAs is the first time the team comes together and starts installing their schemes on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. For some of the Patriots receivers listed above in this article, it's their first chance to develop a rapport with Tom Brady. That means Nate Washington, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Devin Lucien will get their first looks with Tom Brady as a teammate. There isn't any contact in these, but it's a chance to grasp terminology and a slow-motion picture of how things are going to go. Obviously we won't see the full installation of the schemes until training camp in July when the pads finally come on.