With the New England Patriots' first preseason game just one week away, we will soon begin to get a true grasp of how certain training camp battles are playing out in the eyes of the coaching staff.
One piece to that puzzle has already been laid out for us, as the Patriots have announced their first unofficial depth chart. Let's take a look at how things are currently laid out, with some observations after the picture.
— There are no changes from last year's lineup on the offensive line. Marcus Cannon is still listed as a right tackle, despite playing a lot of right guard in camp thus far.
— Not really a surprise here, but Duron Harmon is listed as the starting strong safety, despite several other safeties (Patrick Chung, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner and others) getting some opportunities to line up next to Devin McCourty.
— Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are the starting wide receivers, with Kenbrell Thompkins listed as Amendola's backup. This is consistent with what we've seen at training camp; those three have been getting a lot of work with Tom Brady during the first week-plus of practice.
— Josh Boyce is listed as the top kickoff returner, which is a slight surprise. Boyce has earned some opportunities, but Roy Finch had earned most of the top reps as kickoff returner through the first stretch of camp. Finch went down with a right leg injury in Friday night's practice and did not return.
— Let's not blow things out of proportion, though; as you'll see, all the rookies (underlined players) are listed at the bottom at their respective positions. That may or may not hold true in games and when cutdowns come through. Based off what we've seen at camp, I have a hard time believing James White is behind Jonas Gray or that Bryan Stork is behind Braxston Cave.