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Patriots 2018 training camp: 6 players who stepped up during the first week of camp

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The first week of practices is in the books. Let’s take a look at its standouts.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the New England Patriots’ 2018 training camp is in the books and it has been an intense and interesting few days for the team. And even though the Patriots have taken just the first few steps on their journey towards the regular season, we have already seen some standout performances. Let’s take a look at six of them:

WR Phillip Dorsett

After playing roughly a third of the Patriots’ offensive snaps last year and catching only 14 passes, Phillip Dorsett has received plenty of reps over the first few training camp practices. Lining up both on the outside and in the slot, the former first-round draft pick spent considerable time working with Tom Brady in team drills and the quarterback’s side sessions. All in all, the 25-year old appears to progress well during his first training camp in New England.

WR Cordarrelle Patterson

One of the Patriots’ offseason additions at the wide receiver position, Cordarrelle Patterson has stood out beyond his work as a kickoff returner. Seeing plenty of reps on offense, the 27-year old made highlight-reel catches over the last few days and also stood out as a physical down-field blocker. While it remains to be seen whether he will be able to translate his practice success to actual games, the early signs are certainly encouraging.

TE Jacob Hollister

Coming off a rookie campaign during which he played only a handful of offensive snaps, Jacob Hollister – looking noticeably bigger when compared to 2017 – appears to be ready for the second-year jump. Furthermore, the tight end also seems to have entered Tom Brady’s exclusive circle of trust: not only has he been on the receiving end of multiple of Brady’s pass attempts over the first training camp week, he also has been a regular participant in the quarterback’s side sessions.

OT Trent Brown

When New England traded for Trent Brown on the second day of this year’s draft, they might just have found Nate Solder’s successor at left tackle. Brown, who is transitioning from the right to the left side, certainly looked capable of filling Solder’s shoes over the first few training camp sessions: his size and raw power stood out, as did his quick movement skills. As things stand right now, Brown is the frontrunner to serve as Tom Brady’s blindside protector in 2018.

DE Deatrich Wise Jr.

Injuries bumped the fourth-round rookie up the depth chart last season, but Deatrich Wise Jr. is out to prove that he belongs in the rotation at defensive end no matter who else is available. Over the last week, the second-year man has been one of the most active players on New England’s defense. Making plays against both the pass and the run, and looking good in one-on-ones, Wise Jr. – like the aforementioned Hollister – appears to be a candidate for the famed second-year jump.

CB Stephon Gilmore

The Patriots paid a hefty price to acquire Stephon Gilmore during last year’s free agency period, but it certainly looks like the team is getting a good return on its investment. After playing like one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks over the second half of the 2017 season, Gilmore looks ready to take the next step in his development: over first few training camp practices, he has been New England’s best defender and clear-cut number one cornerback.