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Patriots enjoy strong attendance on first day of voluntary offseason workouts

New England began its first phase of preparation on Monday.

NFL: AUG 17 Patriots Panthers Joint-Practice Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots began their offseason workout program on Monday, and it appears that the session enjoyed some solid attendance.

A full roll call is not possible from the outside and with limited information available, but material shared on the Patriots’ website and social media indicates that at least 41 players participated during Monday’s session at Gillette Stadium. The actual number is likely higher, meaning that a significant portion of the 74 men currently under contract was present.

That group included multiple starter-level players and team leaders, listed here in alphabetical order:

LS Tucker Addington: Addington arrived in New England late last season and eventually replaced the injured Joe Cardona. With Cardona re-signing in free agency, it appears the best he can hope for is a practice squad spot.

C David Andrews: The Patriots’ starting center will be back for Year 9 and continue to serve as the anchor of the offensive line. Andrews will also once again be voted a team captain.

LB Ja’Whaun Bentley: New England’s No. 1 off-the-ball linebacker is coming off a strong season, and will continue to play a vital role in the team’s defense. With long-time captain Devin McCourty now retired he also is a candidate to take over as the on-field signal caller on this side of the ball.

S Joshuah Bledsoe: Despite some solid performances over the summer, Bledsoe saw limited action in 2022. He is a candidate to compete for a roster spot yet again, especially with McCourty’s retirement creating a huge hole in the safety department.

WR Kendrick Bourne: Bourne had a disappointing season last year, but the hope is that he will bounce back under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. At the moment, he projects as a top-four wideout for the team.

CB Myles Bryant: Bryant participated in the voluntary workouts on the day he signed his restricted free agency tender. After serving as the Patriots’ top slot cornerback in 2022, he will compete for a rotational role this year.

LB Olakunle Fatukasi: An undrafted free agent out of Rutgers last year, Fatukasi signed a reserve/futures deal with the Patriots in January. With only a handful of linebacker spots locked in, he will get a chance to compete for a role on the team.

TE Mike Gesicki: A former member of the Miami Dolphins, Gesicki joined the Patriots on a one-year, $4.5 million free agency contract in March. He will share starter-level duties with fellow tight end Hunter Henry, even though in actuality he is more of a big slot receiver than a true TE.

DT Davon Godchaux: Godchaux will continue to play a sizable role along the Patriots’ interior defensive line in 2023. He is entering his third season in the system.

LB Terez Hall: After his release from the Patriots in May, Hall spent the 2022 season without a team. He eventually returned via a reserve/futures contract in January and will also compete for a roster or practice squad spot at the off-the-ball linebacker position.

RB Kevin Harris: The sixth-round draft pick had a relatively quiet rookie season, but that might change in 2023. With Damien Harris leaving in free agency, he might see an increased workload as an early-down, between-the-tackles option.

TE Hunter Henry: While his running mate has changed — Jonnu Smith was traded away, Mike Gesicki signed — Henry remains put as New England’s de facto TE1. As such, he too will hope for a bounce-back after what was a disappointing season.

CB Jack Jones: Fourth-round rookie Jones showed plenty of promise in 2022, but ended the season on a low note. Not only did he suffer a knee injury, he also was suspended for rumored tardiness in his recovery process. He now is back, which is a good sign for the player and the team.

QB Mac Jones: All eyes will be on the Patriots’ starting quarterback this season. Coming off an underwhelming sophomore campaign, Jones is under plenty of pressure in 2023 and with the decision about his fifth-year contract option coming up: if he can return to the levels of play he showed as a rookie, and maybe even build on them, under Bill O’Brien, the team should feel a lot more confident that he can be a long-term solution at the most important position on the field.

CB Marcus Jones: A third-round draft selection last year, Jones had a successful season that saw him contribute on defense, special teams, and even offense. His preference is to play on the defensive side of the ball, though, and it will be his area of focus throughout the offseason and into training camp.

QB Trace McSorley: McSorley was added just last week via a one-year deal. He is the current No. 3 quarterback, but might see some competition added through the draft or rookie free agency.

DB Jalen Mills: Mills had a turbulent free agency period. He was expected to get released but eventually signed a reworked one-year deal to stay put. His role for 2023 is TBD, though: he might be moving to safety, or at the very least play a more versatile role than the one he held the last two seasons.

LB DaMarcus Mitchell: A rookie free agent last year, Mitchell was a core special teamer in 2022. If he wants to make the team again, it will likely come through his kicking game contributions rather than what he can offer on defense.

RB Ty Montgomery: Montgomery’s first season in New England came to an end after just 27 snaps: he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the season opener. Now, he is back to compete for the receiving back role basically left vacant in 2022.

LB Calvin Munson: A practice squad linebacker who returned to New England in October for a third stint, Munson will also be competing for a reserve and special teams role. Based on his history, however, the odds seem stacked against him.

OL Bill Murray: Murray made the transition from the defensive to the offensive line last spring. He will be a player to watch this year, despite his lack of draft pedigree or in-game NFL experience.

WR Tre Nixon: Nixon caught eyes last spring and was a standout performer in mandatory minicamp. However, he failed to build on it once pads came on and eventually spent 2022 on the practice squad. He is entering “make or break” territory in Year 3.

WR DeVante Parker: A trade acquisition last offseason, Parker had an encouraging 2022. While he did miss some time due to a concussion, he proved himself a productive perimeter and deep-field target for New England and showed some good chemistry with quarterback Mac Jones — chemistry that should only get better this year.

S Jabrill Peppers: Peppers returned to the Patriots in free agency, signing a new two-year, $9 million contract to stay put. The deal is reflective of his projected role: he will play a sizable part in New England’s post-McCourty secondary.

LB Ronnie Perkins: A third-round draft pick in 2021, Perkins has yet to see the field. Coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, he also is one of the players under pressure to perform this year.

DT Jeremiah Pharms Jr.: After spending time in indoor football and the USFL, Pharms Jr. joined the Patriots last July. He spent his de facto rookie season on the practice squad.

CB Rodney Randle Jr.: Randle took a similar path as Pharms Jr. to arrive in New England, only via the XFL and CFL. He too signed a reserve/futures contract with the Patriots and will have an opportunity to compete this spring and summer.

OT Riley Reiff: A veteran of 11 NFL seasons, the former first-round draft pick joined the Patriots on a one-year, $5 million deal with substantive guarantees. At the moment, he projects as the starting right tackle but a potential early-round draft addition might change his status.

DT Sam Roberts: Roberts saw limited action as a rookie. The 2022 sixth-rounder will attempt to carve out a reserve role along New England’s interior D-line.

RB James Robinson: Another free agency acquisition, Robinson showed some promise in his first NFL season in 2020 but failed to reach that same level again. The Patriots made a moderate investment in him, but the risk and possible reward look quite positive from a team perspective.

DB Brenden Schooler: Schooler was one of the biggest success stories for the Patriots in 2022. An undrafted rookie free agent, he developed into a core special teamer and might just one day take over the leadership role currently held by...

WR Matthew Slater: Unlike fellow long-time team captain Devin McCourty, Slater decided to return for the 2023 season. The 37-year-old will again serve as a core member of the team both on the field — primarily in the kicking game — and in the locker room.

TE Matt Sokol: After serving as a backup tight end in 2022, Sokol’s outlook is not much better this year. That said, if the team opts to carry three players at the position, he might just be the frontrunner due to his experience and blocking prowess.

G Cole Strange: The first-round rookie had his ups and downs in 2022, but the arrow is definitely pointing in the right direction. Strange will again serve as New England’s starting left guard.

OT Andrew Stueber: Even though he did make a brief appearance at practice late in the year, Stueber’s rookie season was effectively a redshirt campaign. Given New England’s offseason additions at tackle, he will need to get up to speed fast.

LB Jahlani Tavai: Tavai emerged in 2022 and by season’s end was the Patriots’ No. 2 off-ball linebacker next to Ja’Whaun Bentley as well as a core special teamer. He projects to play a prominent role this upcoming season as well.

RB J.J. Taylor: Despite the Patriots’ running back position suffering from personnel instability in 2022, Taylor played just 17 offensive snaps on the year. His future is very much in question but he remains on the team for now.

WR Tyquan Thornton: New England’s second-round draft pick a year ago, Thornton had a relatively small overall impact on the team but some flashes. The Patriots are high on him, and he is a candidate for the famous Year 2 jump and more prominent role in the new-look offense.

WR Raleigh Webb: Joining the Patriots in-season after they had lost Cody Davis for the year, Webb was part of the efforts to replace the core special teamer. With Davis back, he will have to prove his value to the team to stick around.

DE Deatrich Wise Jr.: The team captain had his best season to date in 2022, and will resume his role as a multi-role player along the defensive line in 2023. He will also help fill the leadership void created by the McCourty retirement.

QB Bailey Zappe: “Zappe Mania” lasted not even a month, but fans are still optimistic about New England’s backup quarterback heading into his sophomore season. Will he live up to the hype and maybe even challenge Mac Jones? Time will tell, but for now he projects as QB2.

One player we do know was not present on Monday is linebacker Anfernee Jennings. The fourth-year man opted to stay away from the start of the voluntary workouts to support his hometown of Dadeville, Alabama, where a mass shooting over the weekend claimed the lives of four people and left 28 others injured.

Jennings will eventually return, and join the rest of the players listed above (plus any mystery teammates not spotted) in continuing the offseason workouts.

Phase 1 will focus on strength and conditioning under under the guidance of assistant coaches Moses Cabrera and Deron Mayo. The intensity of offseason preparation will start to increase throughout the spring, culminating in mandatory minicamp on June 12-14.