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Patriots vs Jaguars rookies report: Jacob Hollister looks like a stud, Austin Carr impresses

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The Patriots rookies put together strong performances in the opening preseason game.

The New England Patriots fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the final score of 31-24, but there was plenty to be excited about if you weren’t expecting much from the Patriots rookie draft class.

Third round EDGE Derek Rivers rotated with the game’s first and second units. It’s important to note that the Patriots didn’t play many of their starters, so Rivers was seeing time with the New England back-ups. He failed to register a tackle, but he generated a few pressures and flashed impressive athleticism. He needs to better harness that ability because it caused him to lose gap contain at points.

Fellow third round pick OT Tony Garcia did not play.

Fourth round rookie EDGE Deatrich Wise started and assisted on two tackle, but was forced from the game after fellow rookie Adam Butler accidentally kneed him in the back of the helmet. Wise’s injury is likely a concussion and is worth monitoring for the rest of the preseason.

Sixth round rookie OT Conor McDermott saw time at right tackle and was fairly quiet, too, which is a positive sign- but he was playing with the last unit of the Patriots offense, so he’s not considered to be in the top five Patriots tackles.

There should be much more excitement and interest surrounding the Patriots undrafted rookie class.

340-pound DT Josh Augusta made six tackles and showed an ability to hold his ground against double teams in the middle of the field. He needs to work on improving his technique because he would often get too high in his stance lose leverage, but he has obvious strength and flashed at times. Fellow DT Adam Butler didn’t register on the stat sheet, but he disrupted a few plays for the linebackers to collect the glory.

Harvey Langi made 3 tackles in the SAM role in the 5-man front and added another on special teams. He fell for a few misdirection plays at time, but played at a solid enough level against the Jaguars starters to warrant some attention.

Defensive backs Damarius Travis, Jason Thompson, and D.J. Killings all had their moments with Travis having the Patriots only tackle for loss, Thompson playing solid coverage, and Killings showing strong run support.

On offense, RB LeShun Daniels led the Patriots with 39 rushing yards, but that came on 11 attempts. The real intrigue came with the receivers.

TE Jacob Hollister snagged 7 of his 9 targets for an impressive 116 yards. His blocking wasn’t impressive and the team appeared to prefer placing a second tight end on the field to block to allow Hollister to continue to run routes- but there is a clear base of talent that’s worth molding.

WR Austin Carr caught 5 of his 7 targets for 44 yards and a touchdown and showed the best body control of all the Patriots receivers. He has great hands and quick routes and showed some value as a blocker. If any of the Patriots receivers suffer an injury, Carr is definitely the next man up.

Fellow WR K.J. Maye caught 6 of his 7 targets for 34 yards and a touchdown, but it’s worth noting that the Patriots kept asking Maye to run bubble screens for yards after the catch. It seems like the Patriots have added some plays with Brandin Cooks in mind.

Hollister and Carr clearly separated themselves from the other rookies and Maye, Langi, Butler, and Augusta would fall in the next tier. These players will likely rotate in with the Patriots actual starters next week against the Houston Texans.