Patriots’ Training Camp Stock Report: 4 Up, 4 Down
Now that we’ve had a few padded practices and the hot takes have started flying, it’s time to take a look at who’s shined in training camp thus far, and who’s struggled. Typically at this time of year, the majority of reports coming out of camp are overwhelmingly positive. Coaches, players, and fans alike are as optimistic as ever about the outlook of their team. With that in mind, in this article, we’ll tell you four players rising in stock and four players trending in the wrong direction.
1. Jermaine Eluemunor
Jermaine Eluemunor was acquired from Baltimore last season in exchange for a 4th round pick. Although he didn’t play much in 2019, only 29 offensive snaps, his role in 2020 could be huge. The Patriots used Eluemunor at guard last season, but because starting right tackle Marcus Cannon opted out of the upcoming season, Eluemunor has shifted outside to play the tackle spot. The move came as a little bit of a surprise, but it’s important to note that while Eluemunor spent most of his NFL career at guard, he did play some left tackle during the 2018 season with the Ravens. You can bet, Eluemunor’s ability to play almost every position along the offensive line will be valued in Foxboro.
Up to this point, Eluemunor has reportedly been very impressive in training camp. So much so, that he’s taking most of the first-team reps at right tackle. It’s still early, but Eluemunor appears to have the inside track on the starting tackle position vacated by Cannon.
2. Kyle Dugger
This one is a bit obvious, as there is currently a ton of hype surrounding Kyle Dugger. We all knew he was a physical specimen when he was drafted, but the big question was if he could make an immediate impact in the NFL after playing Division II college ball at Lenoir-Rhyne. If what we’ve been hearing the past few days is any indicator, the answer is a resounding yes.
In addition to his seemingly constant pass breakups, Dugger forced a fumble on day one of padded practices, had an interception on day two, and intercepted both Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham on day three. He’s not only impressed his coaches but his teammates as well with his knack for constantly being around the ball. After the opt-out of defensive stalwart Patrick Chung, and the trade of Duron Harmon, Dugger’s development and ability to contribute right away will be paramount to the Patriots’ success this season. It’s only the first week into padded practices, but so far Dugger has shown the ability to play both as a box safety and as a deep safety. That versatility would make this secondary even more dominant.
3. Damien Harris
After what was essentially a red-shirt rookie season, former Alabama running back, Damien Harris has turned some heads in his second training camp. Harris has received a heavy workload up to this point, and with Sony Michel likely starting the season on the PUP list, all signs point to a significant early-down role to start the season.
Early on, Harris has flashed his ability to be a multi-dimensional back by being very active in the passing game. With one of the biggest knocks on Sony Michel being his lack of involvement in the passing game, Harris could very well have the upper hand even if Michel were to be ready for Week 1.
4. Devin Asiasi
Given the lack of production from the tight end position in 2019, a fast start from rookie Devin Asiasi would be very much welcomed. The rookie has impressed thus far not only as a pass-catcher but also by making his presence felt as a run blocker. In New England’s system, blocking at the tight end position is a necessity.
Want more to be excited about? Asiasi’s athleticism, good hands, and ability to get separation could potentially make him a potent red-zone weapon, a dimension the team was sorely lacking in 2019. If what we’ve heard so far is any indication of what’s to come, Asiasi will be sitting atop the depth chart sooner rather than later.
It’s a hard task to pick only four players trending up, but it’s an even harder task to find the players trending down. We may be nit-picking a bit since these players still have time to turn it around, but here are our four players who haven’t yet met expectations in 2020.
1. N’Keal Harry
It absolutely pains us to put N’Keal Harry in the stock down section. He’s been a popular 2020 breakout candidate for us and many others. Unfortunately, it’s been reported that Harry is still struggling to create separation, despite dedicating his offseason to improving his footwork and route running. To this point, Harry simply has not stood out in the way you’d hope for a player ready to make the year two leap. To be fair, he is practicing with new quarterbacks, and going against the best secondary in the league.
On top of the separation struggles, Harry has also been absent for a couple of practices in a row. There’s no word on the issue holding him out, but we hope he’s able to get back out there soon. If you’re looking for a silver lining, in limited video clips it looks his releases have improved since last year.
2. Yodny Cajuste
Yodny Cajuste spent all of 2019 on the non-football injury list after undergoing quad surgery. Drafted in the third round of the 2019 draft as the heir apparent to incumbent right tackle Marcus Cannon, Cajuste seemed like the logical choice to step in after Cannon opted out of the 2020 season. However, Cajuste seems to have fallen out of favor early, as he’s been working behind Eluemenor in tackle rotation. He’s also missed a couple of the latest practices. Keep in mind, Cajuste has not played football since 2018 so he may just be shaking off a little rust, but he has had some struggles thus far.
3. Beau Allen
Signed this offseason to replace the departed Danny Shelton, Beau Allen has not been seen at practice this week. Missing part of training camp in a players’ first season with a team can be quite detrimental in a normal year, let alone a year with a shortened training camp and no team offseason activities. Allen came into camp projected for a significant role as an early-down run stuffer. With little depth behind Allen on the defensive line, the Patriots may need to start looking elsewhere for options if he continues to miss time. Let’s hope he’s able to get back out there and compete soon.
4. Justin Rohrwasser
Justin Rohrwasser was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft to replace long-time-kicker Stephen Gostowski. The rookie kicker has undoubtedly had a rough start to camp. Rohrwasser made only three of five kicks on the first day of padded practices. It’s easy to write off his sub-par performance as first day jitters, but what’s more concerning is the fact that he hasn’t kicked in front of the media since that first day. The reason behind the absence of kicks isn’t currently clear but let’s hope it’s not due to any injury or confidence issues after a shaky performance to start the week.
Adding further fuel to the speculation, according to Scott Zolak, Stephen Gostkowski has reportedly turned down offers from two AFC teams. It could be nothing, but this is certainly a situation that bears monitoring.
Let us know in the comments which players you see trending up or down.
One thought on “Patriots’ Training Camp Stock Report: 4 Up, 4 Down”
Edelman should retire before he seriously hurts something irrepairable.