Status check on Patriots' sophomores

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
5:00
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(Editor's note: With Mike Reiss on vacation, he filed a "status check" on the Patriots' seven draft picks from 2013 -- plus four -- to run in place of the regular quick-hit thoughts feature.)

LB Jamie Collins (2nd round, 52nd overall) -- After being brought along slowly in the 2013 regular season, playing 25.8 percent of the defensive snaps, he's now in position to become a rare three-down player in the team's system. Expectations have been raised after his breakout playoff performance against the Colts, and he has star potential. But as Bill Parcells might say, "Let's not get the bust ready in Canton just yet."

[+] EnlargeLogan Ryan
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesLogan Ryan seems to be carrying over his impressive rookie performance in 2013 to offseason workouts.
WR Aaron Dobson (2nd round, 59th overall) -- He underwent surgery on his left foot for a stress fracture in early March and, as expected, missed all practices in the spring. It would be a surprise and disappointment if he's not ready for the start of training camp, as he's the type of outside receiver (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) who can help balance out the attack playing alongside Julian Edelman (5-11, 198) and Danny Amendola (5-11, 195) in the three-receiver package. It will be interesting to compare and contrast his Year 2 jump with Steelers receiver Markus Wheaton, who was a player we liked for the Patriots coming out of last year's draft.

CB Logan Ryan (3rd round, 83rd overall) -- Praised for his smarts by veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis, Ryan took mostly second-team reps in spring camps behind Revis and free-agent signing Brandon Browner. His ball skills produced a team-leading five interceptions last season and he'd probably be the starter opposite Revis if the season started today and Browner was serving his four-game suspension.

S Duron Harmon (3rd round, 91st overall) -- After playing 36.9 percent of the defensive snaps in his rookie season, he's the leading candidate to assume more of a full-time role at safety next to Devin McCourty. He started two of the biggest games last season -- at Carolina and home against Denver -- and the game didn't seem too big for him. He's a heady player with a good understanding of the scheme who hopes to improve his consistency when it comes to tackling.

WR Josh Boyce (4th round, 102nd overall) -- The speedster who had entered the draft after his junior season projects as a top kickoff returner and had built momentum in spring camps as a receiver (likely No. 4-5 option) prior to tweaking his knee on June 18 and being held out of the team's final practice. The status of his injury and availability for the first day of training camp warrants a follow-up.

DE Michael Buchanan (7th round, 226th overall) -- After opening last season as the team's nickel rusher and struggling to maintain discipline in his rush lanes at times, Buchanan hopes to prove he is worthy of the role again in his second season. It will be easier to prove that in full-pad practices in training camp, but at the least, Buchanan has a good chance to stick because of his contributions on special teams. Most importantly for him, he was a full participant in all 13 spring practices and has seemingly built as much momentum as possible.

LB Steve Beauharnais (7th round, 235th overall) -- Described as a film junkie by teammate Dont'a Hightower, Beauharnais has been seen leading the defensive huddle when starter Jerod Mayo heads to the sideline in practice. He played in just two games last season and remains a bit of an unknown in the team's competitive battle for backup linebacker roster spots.

[+] EnlargeKenbrell Thompkins
AP Photo/Michael DwyerThe Patriots have a lot of wide receiver options, but Kenbrell Thompkins is as viable a candidate as any.
G Josh Kline (undrafted) -- One thing that caught the eye in spring practices was Kline stepping in for starter Logan Mankins at left guard, which seemed to reflect how he's viewed by the coaching staff. He came up big in the late-season win over the Ravens that clinched the AFC East title and could be in position to elevate to a top backup role.

WR Kenbrell Thompkins (undrafted) -- He was one of the team's more consistent receivers in spring camps, generating momentum heading into training camp as a potential complement to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola in the three-receiver set. One thing that stands out is how he competes for the ball in 50-50 type situations. Some have wondered if he might be the odd-man-out on a pretty deep receiver depth chart, but it's hard to imagine that happening.

P Ryan Allen (undrafted) -- After winning the job last year, he doesn't have a punter challenging him in camp. One area of potential improvement is control, as his 12 touchbacks were a league-high.

DT Joe Vellano (undrafted) -- The type of hard-working player who fits any team, he was thrust into a top role at times last season because of injuries to others and competed his tail off. With increased competition this year, he could be challenged to stick on the roster.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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