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4 winners and 4 losers from the Patriots’ second joint practice with the Panthers

Related: Patriots training camp notebook: Tempers flare again during second joint practice with Panthers

NFL: JUL 29 New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ joint practices with the Carolina Panthers are in the books, with the second and final session taking place on Wednesday morning. Another heated affair that saw several players get ejected again, there was no shortage on action.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at those who stood out to us — for better or worse.

Winner: CB Jalen Mills. Second time’s the charm for the Patriots’ starting cornerback. After a standout performance during Tuesday’s practice, Mills went all “Let’s do that again” the following day and was arguably the best defender on either side on Wednesday as well. He locked down Panthers WR1 D.J. Moore in 1-on-1s and later did the same in 11-on-11s. He came close to intercepting Sam Darnold as well even though the play was eventually ruled incomplete. Nonetheless, another impressive outing from Mills.

Winner: DB Brenden Schooler. Heading into the second preseason game, Schooler might just be positioning himself as the undrafted rookie with the best shot at making the roster. On Wednesday, he was in the spotlight twice: he laid out Panthers kickoff returner Keith Kirkwood and later had another big hit that forced an incomplete throw to Derek Wright.

Winner: WR Nelson Agholor. Agholor has had a strong summer, and Wednesday was more of the same for the veteran wide receiver. He went a perfect 2-for-2 in 1-on-1 drills, and later caught a pair of touchdowns in 11-on-11s; the second of those was the play of the day: running a fade from the slot, he went up in traffic and came down with the catch over three Carolina defenders.

Winner: TE Jonnu Smith. After a rather disappointing day on Tuesday, Smith bounced back on Wednesday. The second-year Patriot was actively involved. Not only did he go 3-0 in his 1-on-1 reps and draw a holding penalty, he also was able to beat Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn on a crossing route down in the red area. New England is actively trying to get Smith involved, which is an encouraging development after his quiet 2021 campaign.

Loser: QB Bailey Zappe. The rookie quarterback had a more active day than on Tuesday, and some positive moments. On the whole, however, he had a rough go against the Panthers. Not only did he go just 8-for-19 in 11-on-11 work, he also threw an interception right into a defenders hands and had another pick dropped.

Loser: WR Kendrick Bourne. One day after getting booted from practice for fighting, Bourne saw his spot in the starting lineup go to Nelson Agholor. He himself, meanwhile, spent most of his time with Bailey Zappe and the second-team offense.

Loser: The offensive line. Mac Jones expressed his confidence in the offensive line after practice, but the group had a hard time to keep its quarterbacks protected and to generate a consistent push in the running game. On several occasions Jones found himself under pressure, while the backs had limited space to operate.

Loser: DE Deatrich Wise Jr. After three Patriots were sent packing for fighting during Tuesday’s practice, one had to leave early on Wednesday. That players was defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr., who was involved in the big brawl that saw him get pushed into the stands and onto a spectator. He was disqualified quickly.

Other players worth mentioning include slot cornerbacks Myles Bryant and Marcus Jones, who both had some good moments. Additionally, undrafted D-lineman LaBryan Ray had a would-be sack, while linebackers Raekwon McMillan, Anfernee Jennings and Josh Uche were quite active as well. On the other end of the spectrum was Devin Asiasi, who had another drop.

The Patriots and Panthers will likely go walkthrough mode behind closed doors on Thursday before their preseason game on Friday night.