FOXBOROUGH — In the first Patriots organized team activity open to the media, it was clear that while there are 90 players on the roster, the entire team is not going to be available to practice all at once.
There were 10 Patriots players missing from the practice, including wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot), wide receiver Matthew Slater, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, and offensive lineman Logan Mankins. Also missing were rookies Jimmy Garoppolo and Asa Watson, both in Los Angeles for the NFL premiere event, and offensive lineman Cameron Fleming, who is set to graduate from Stanford, as well as defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who is still recovering from an ACL tear.
Of the team’s returning players who had been placed on injured reserve last season, Jerod Mayo (pectoral muscle tear), Tommy Kelly (knee), and Sebastian Vollmer (right leg) all had full participation in the workout. But veteran Vince Wilfork (achilles’ tear) was limited, seen running during warmups, but rather belabored. Free agent signee Will Smith, who is also coming off an ACL tear, did not partake in the team’s full workouts.
For the team’s third OTA practice, they were in helmets and sweats, working in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations without contact.
– Duron Harmon and Patrick Chung appear to be in a battle for the first team safety spot opposite of of Devin McCourty. Jamea Thomas was the other replacement.
– The pride of Concordia St. Paul, Zach Moore, backed up Rob Ninkovich at defensive end. He has the appearance of one who can both get up field and drop back, which is precisely the value that Ninkovich provides.
– Running back James White (5-10, 195) does look like Shane Vereen (5-10, 205). They both have a fluidity to their movements that is inescapable.
– Jon Halapio got a decent amount of reps at right guard behind Dan Connolly while Ryan Wendell got the majority of reps at center over rookie Bryan Stork.
The next time the Patriots will open up their practice to the media will be June 5.