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Patriots WR Brandin Cooks flashes “solid chemistry” with QB Tom Brady at Wednesday practice

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The Patriots had a much more productive second day of minicamp.

The New England Patriots hosted their second-straight practice that was open to the media. LT Nate Solder returned to the field as DL Lawrence Guy and OL Andrew Jelks were the only two players not in attendance. WR Malcolm Mitchell, LB Dont’a Hightower, and DT Alan Branch were limited as they work back into football shape. LB Jonathan Freeny is wearing a non-contact jersey.

One day after the University of Florida coaching staff watched on the sidelines, the Vanderbilt coaching staff and USA Rugby Sevens coach Mike Friday were in attendance.

Here are the notes from Wednesday’s practice.

Offense

According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, running back Rex Burkhead, who received some reps with the first team offense, caught six passes, tying UDFA wide receiver Austin Carr for the most on the field Wednesday. Burkhead’s four-down potential was noted as a primary reason for the Patriots’ interest, and to see him getting work with the “ones” only serves to boost the belief that the fifth-year Cornhusker will play a big role in the offensive game plan in 2017.

New WR Brandin Cooks appears to be fitting in nicely, per all reports. Cooks had the “play of the day” on a 60-yard touchdown, per the Globe’s Ben Volin, and has “solid chemistry” with QB Tom Brady, per Kyed.

Cooks “is the real deal,” per the Herald’s Jeff Howe. “He’s got a different gear.”

MassLive’s Kevin Duffy called new WR Andrew Hawkins possibly the “quickest on the team” with “ridiculous agility.”

TE Dwayne Allencommitted multiple drops for the second straight day,” per Duffy.

Defense

Linebacker Kyle van Noy asserted himself on Tuesday with “an incredible leaping” interception of Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone. While of course it’s still incredibly early, the battle for the starting spot next to Dont’a Hightower is one to keep a close eye on throughout the summer, so any signs of production and progress shown in the linebacker group should be noted.

ProJo’s Mark Daniels reports that EDGE Geneo Grissom received some time “opposite of Rob Ninkovich on the defensive line.”

Undrafted rookie CB Kenny Moore was elevated from the rookie squad after posting two breakups on Tuesday. Instead of facing Jacoby Brissett like the other rookie defensive backs, Moore faced Brady and Garoppolo per NESN’s Doug Kyed.

CB Jonathan Jones took a backseat from the first team defense as Justin Coleman and Eric Rowe replaced Jones and Stephon Gilmore across from Malcolm Butler, per PFW’s Paul Perillo. It’s probably more an indication of how well-regarded Jones is in the pecking order that he was given snaps off.

Special Teams

Cyrus Jones had “another strong day on special teams,” per the Herald’s Jeff Howe. “He had a clean performance with every opportunity, steered clear of a wobbly punt and allowed another to roll into the end zone for a touchback. Good decisions and execution all around. Defensively, he remained with the backups, as Coleman and Jonathan Jones were ahead of him in this practice.”