FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the New England Patriots began organized team activities three weeks ago, tight end D.J. Williams was listed as one of the players in which there was added interest to follow. The reason is Williams has a nice opportunity to emerge at a position where the Patriots have been a bit thin.
But Williams, who entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the Packers in 2011, has been sidelined during the OTAs with a calf strain.
The expectation is that Williams, who was signed late during the 2013 season with the future in mind, will be ready for the start of training camp.
With Williams held out of practice, and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski also not fully cleared for practice, the Patriots worked with the following tight ends in Thursday's OTA:
Kyle Auffray (1st year)
Michael Hoomanawanui (5th year)
Justin Jones (undrafted rookie)
Asa Watson (undrafted rookie)
Fullback James Develin took reps at the position in the individual position breakdowns.
With the tight end position in mind, we'll also pass along NFL.com's roundtable discussion on Gronkowski, which touched on realistic expectations for him this season.