Temperatures in the 70s, clear-blue skies — the weather could not be more perfect for Mac Jones and the New England Patriots’ rookie class. On Friday, after all, the Patriots will open their traditional rookie minicamp: over the next three days, first-year players will go through a series of activities and get their first taste of life in the NFL.
They will participate in non-contact, non-padded workouts with the coaching staff, and also go through physical examinations and first introductions into the Patriots’ scheme and overall daily routine. It will be more of an orientation weekend than anything else, but it still is another important step on their journey to pro football.
Of course, the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement will determine the routine this weekend — no contact or live tackling is allowed during on-field drills, for example, while time in the facility is limited — while Coronavirus guidelines are also in effect. Still, the simple fact that rookie minicamps can take place is a step towards normalcy: last year, the event had to be canceled due to Covid-19.
The Patriots’ 2021 rookie players will therefore have a better start into their pro careers than their 2020 counterparts. Those players are as follows:
- QB Mac Jones
- DT Christian Barmore
- DE Ronnie Perkins
- RB Rhamondre Stevenson
- LB Cameron McGrone
- S Joshuah Bledsoe
- OT William Sherman
- WR Tre Nixon
- K Quinn Nordin
There is a chance that the Patriots add to this group, though, as teams are permitted to invite up to five rookie free agents on a tryout basis.
While the odds are against finding future contributors through those tryouts, New England has struck gold in the past: in 2014, cornerback Malcolm Butler was able to earn a roster spot after getting invited to rookie minicamp. Nine months later, he made a championship-winning interception in Super Bowl 49.
Regardless of the Patriots adding players or not this weekend, rookie minicamp will be followed by a developmental program starting with Phase 2 of voluntary workouts on Monday, May 17.