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Friday, August 1, 2014
Checking in on Patriots rookie class

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A quick-hit thought on each member of the New England Patriots’ rookie draft class through the first eight practices of training camp:

DL Dominique Easley (first round, 29th overall) -- Remains on the active/physically unable to perform list as he continues to build strength in his previously torn ACL.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo (second round, 62nd overall) -- Has flashed a quick release, polished presence, and a hard-working approach while throwing the most interceptions of any quarterback, as one would expect for a rookie in the initial stages of learning a complex offense. It’s too early to make any definitive judgments.

C Bryan Stork (fourth round, 105th overall) -- Had success in one-on-one rush drills against some lower-level players on the roster, and is expected to compete for a starting job, but sustained what appeared to be a lower-leg injury during the team’s fifth practice and hasn’t been on the field since.

RB James White (fourth round, 130th overall) -- Has opened eyes with how many quality reps he's getting and looks like he’ll be a significant part of the team’s attack -- on all three downs.

OT Cameron Fleming (fourth round, 140th overall) -- A developmental prospect whose size stands out (6-foot-6, 325 pounds), he has mostly been at right tackle and looks like he’ll need some more seasoning before factoring into the playing time mix.

G Jon Halapio (sixth round, 179th overall) -- Doesn’t seem ready to compete for a starting job at this point, taking some early lumps in one-on-one rush drills, but just keeps grinding away.

DE Zach Moore (sixth round, 198th overall) -- His raw talent flashes at times, such as Thursday when he forcefully pushed the pocket to sack Ryan Mallett, but there’s a long way to go as he comes from a lower level of competition in college and it shows at times.

DB Jemea Thomas (sixth round, 206th overall) -- Sustained an undisclosed injury in the first training camp practice and hasn’t been spotted since, threatening his hopes for a roster spot.

WR Jeremy Gallon (seventh round, 244th overall) -- Remains on the active/physically unable to perform list, which means he has an uphill climb for a roster spot. His best chance to stick at this point would likely be to remain on PUP.

UNDRAFTED FREE-AGENT NOTES: Defensive backs Malcolm Butler and Travis Hawkins (also a kickoff returner) have made some plays on the ball and look like strong practice squad candidates. … Tight end Justin Jones has received some quality reps. Similar to defensive end Zach Moore, he’s raw with intriguing traits, and he’s shown up in the red zone at times with his 6-foot-8 frame. … Running back/punt returner Roy Finch is quick but at one point showed up as a ball-security liability when Devin McCourty ripped the ball from his grasp -- likely more of a practice squad consideration. … Stephen Houston has run hard at the goal line, but hasn’t shown up in the special-teams mix, which could make it tough for him to earn a roster spot. … Linebacker Cameron Gordon has shown up more on special teams than defense. … Receiver Wilson Van Hooser competes hard and could be a practice squad consideration. … Early impressions have snapper Tyler Ott behind incumbent Danny Aiken from a consistency standpoint.