After a busy offseason — which some have said the Patriots “won’’ — there will be many new faces in Foxborough when the Patriots conduct their first training-camp practice July 27.
The roster for the defending Super Bowl champions appears to be even better following some key free agent pickups, a small draft class, and a bevy of undrafted free agents.
Here’s a look at the new faces that will be at training camp next week.
Stephon Gilmore — The Patriots targeted the Buffalo Bills cornerback as soon as free agency began and got their man, signing him to a five-year, $65 million deal. Gilmore registered 14 interceptions in five seasons with the Bills, including a career-high five last season. His signing is certainly an upgrade over Logan Ryan, as he combines with Malcolm Butler to give the Patriots a pair of shutdown corners.
Several undrafted rookies will be in camp. Cornerback D.J. Killings of Central Florida should contend for a backup spot, while Jason Thompson of Utah, Damarius Travis of Minnesota, Dwayne Thomas of LSU, Kenny Moore II of Valdosta State, and Will Likely of Maryland will try to remain with the team.
David Harris — After 10 seasons on the opposing sideline, Harris signed a two-year contract with the Patriots after the New York Jets decided not to bring him back. Harris was very productive and durable with the Jets, starting all but one game in the last eight seasons, and has recorded 1,087 tackles and 35 sacks.
A pair of undrafted rookies are the other new additions to this corps. BYU product Harvey Langi put up impressive numbers at the Combine with a 4.32 in the 20-yard shuttle and an 11.83 in the 60-yard shuttle. Brooks Ellis served as team captain his junior and senior seasons at Arkansas, where he was a two-time Academic All-American.
Kony Ealy — The Patriots acquired the 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound defensive end and a third- round pick from the Carolina Panthers for a second-round pick. Ealy had a huge game in Super Bowl 50 with three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in a losing effort for the Panthers. In three seasons with Carolina he had 14 sacks and played in all but one game. Entering his fourth season, he is just 25.
Lawrence Guy — The 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pound defensive end signed as a free agent. He was more of a rotational piece and special teams player with the Baltimore Ravens. He has 6½ sacks in five seasons, with 5.5 coming in the last two seasons in Baltimore. Both Ealy and Guy will be asked to fill the void created by the departures of Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard.
The Patriots grabbed a pair of defensive linemen in the draft. Derek Rivers was taken in the third round out of Youngstown State. Deatrich Wise was selected in the next round from Arkansas. Rivers set a school record with 41 sacks. Undrafted rookie Josh Augusta from Missouri will also be in camp.
Brandin Cooks — The big acquisition on the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots sent their first-round pick to New Orleans for the speedy wide receiver. In three seasons with the Saints, Cooks had 215 receptions for 2,861 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cooks will turn 24 in September and is in the fourth year of his rookie contract. The Patriots exercised the option for his fifth year shortly after acquiring him. He clocked the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2014 Combine at 4.33 seconds.
Andre Hawkins — The seventh-year receiver joined the Patriots this offseason after the Cleveland Browns decided not to bring back the 31-year old receiver. In six seasons with the Browns and the Bengals, Hawkins had 209 receptions for 2,419 yards and nine touchdowns.
Undrafted free agents Austin Carr and Cody Hollister will also be in camp. Carr was the Big Ten Receiver of the Year at Northwestern. Hollister is a big target (6-4, 209 pounds) who played at Arkansas.
Mike Gillislee — The Patriots signed the restricted free agent to a two-year offer sheet in April that Buffalo decided not to match. New England had to surrender a 2017 fifth-round pick as compensation. Serving as LeSean McCoy’s backup in Buffalo last season, Gillislee rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rex Burkhead — The former Cincinnati Bengal signed a one-year, $3.15 million free agent deal. A standout special-teamer, he has shown flashes at running back, but he played behind Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard and battled injuries during his time with the Bengals.
The Patriots also signed undrafted rookie LeShun Daniels Jr. The Iowa Hawkeye ran for 1,058 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior season.
Dwayne Allen — With the loss of Martellus Bennett to free agency, the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for Allen and a sixth-round pick. Allen is in the second year of a four year, $29.4 million contract. He has the size (6-3, 265) and the blocking skills to replace Bennett.
Allen, 27, had 35 receptions for 406 yards and 6 touchdowns last season. For his career, he has 126 catches for 1,451 yards, and 19 TDs.
James O’Shaughnessy — The Patriots acquired O’Shaughnessy and a sixth-round pick from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a fifth-rounder. In two years with the Chiefs, O’Shaughnessy played mostly on special teams, and had just eight receptions for 86 yards.
Undrafted rookies Sam Cotton of Nebraska and Jacob Hollister of Wyoming will also be in camp.
The Patriots drafted Antonio Garcia, an offensive lineman out of Troy, in the third round of the draft. He has the size (6-6, 302) to play tackle, and could find a spot behind Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon. Sixth-round pick Connor McDermott will compete against undrafted rookie free agents Max Rich of Harvard, Jason King of Purdue, and Andrew Jelks of Vanderbilt for a spot.