As the second week of padded practices wind down, we’re beginning to get a better sense of how the Patriots 2020 roster will take shape. Throughout camp, some players have shined, while others have struggled. With the end of a shortened training camp approaching and final roster cuts on the horizon, time is running out for players on the roster bubble to prove their worth. In this article we’ll take a look at who’s stock is up and who’s is down after the second week of padded practices. (NOTE: You can read the Training Camp stock report covering last week’s practices here.)
1. N’Keal Harry
Let’s start with a player who was trending down last week, but finds himself amongst those who’ve shined in week two. After a lackluster start to camp coupled with a few missed practices, N’Keal Harry has turned heads this week. The second-year wideout reportedly made nice plays in the red zone, including two catches over a great young corner in J.C. Jackson. At the end of the day, Harry isn’t ever likely to be a great separator, but he has great potential at other things like winning jump balls and becoming a red-zone weapon.
Another bright spot has been his physicality as a blocker. The most notable example came when Harry reportedly blocked defensive back Michael Jackson into the ground, leading to a brief altercation between the two. Bill Belichick often preaches about “stacking the days” for young, developing players and Harry has done just that in week two of padded practices. Let’s hope Harry can continue the momentum he’s built this week over the rest of camp and into the regular season.
2. Josh Uche
Rookie linebacker, Josh Uche made headlines earlier in the week when he showcased his strong pass-rush ability. Coming into the NFL, Uche projected as a player with high pass-rush potential and he’s showing that in camp. As the practices go by, Uche is reportedly looking more and more comfortable in the Patriots defense. Uche will likely have growing pains in the run game, but he has all the talent necessary to succeed in the NFL.
It’s possible Uche is used in a pass-rushing role similar to what we saw from former college teammate Chase Winovich last season. In addition to an edge pass-rushing role, it’s likely we also see Uche switch off-ball and rush the passer via blitzing. Uche has enough speed to play in coverage which makes the transition off-ball much easier. Time will tell if Uche will see an expanded role beyond that in year one, but after the off-season departures of linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, along with the opt-out of veteran Dont’a Hightower, there will be plenty of opportunities for Uche to contribute right away.
3. Chase Winovich
This isn’t exactly a surprise after his impressive rookie campaign, but Chase Winovich appears to be primed to take another step forward in 2020. He dominated practices early in the week recording several would-be sacks and even forced a fumble against Cam Newton.
In addition to his pass-rushing prowess, Winovich also displayed the ability to stay on the field against the run. Yes, it’s just training camp but it’s notable Winovich, who spent a majority of 2019 as a situational pass-rusher, is getting snaps on run downs. The Patriots will need Winovich to become more of a three-down player, as the edge spot is a little light on depth. If training camp is any indication, it seems Winovich is well on his way to becoming just that.
4. Gunner Olszewski
Gunner Olszewski could have made our stock up list last week and this week, that’s how good he’s been. After spending most of his rookie season as a punt returner, he looks much improved as a receiver in year two. So far in training camp, Olszewski just seems to have a knack for getting open. His progression from year one to year two is impressive.
The final wide receiver group is hard to predict, but over the past couple of weeks, Olszewski has started to separate himself from the other wide receivers on the roster bubble. He also remains in the mix for punt return duties. After such a strong training camp, Gunner is going to be very hard to leave off the final 53 man roster.
1. Jeff Thomas
Jeff Thomas’ talent and potential are unquestionable(if you need proof check out our Jeff Thomas film breakdown here), but unfortunately for the rookie, he’s been mostly unavailable over the last two weeks. We’ve yet to get a chance to see the dynamic playmaking ability that he displayed in college on the practice field in Foxboro.
With other wideouts, like Gunner and Devin Ross, stepping up it’s going to be tough to make the team with little practice. However, Thomas does have an intriguing skill set and loads of natural talent, so we’re not ready to write him off just yet. He returned to practice late in the week, and things can change quickly this time of year, but time is running out for the undrafted speedster. Without a roster spot, we’d imagine Thomas sticks around whether on the injured reserve or the practice squad.
2. Beau Allen
This is the second week in a row we’ve had to put Beau Allen in the stock down section. As Belichick always says, “the best ability is availability” and Allen has not been available to practice. It’s unclear exactly what the reason behind his extended absence is, but with an abbreviated camp and little depth on the defensive line, it’s becoming more concerning by the day. Allen’s situation is one to monitor.
3. Jakobi Meyers
After showing some promising flashes in 2019 after joining the team as an undrafted free agent, Jakobi Meyers has failed to make a significant impact at camp in 2020. It’s possible some of the struggles could be contributed to a nagging injury. Meyers appeared in a red no-contact jersey at Friday’s walkthrough. The extent of his injury doesn’t seem to be too serious, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time for Meyers. With Gunner, Damiere Byrd, Ross, and Jeff Thomas all vying for those final spots at wideout, Meyers has been pushed on the roster bubble.
It’s possible Meyers still makes the team, but he has some work to do. Meyers is a player that many were hoping would take a big step forward in his second season with the team, but as of yet, we haven’t seen that leap.
4. Justin Rohrwasser
Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse for Justin Rohrwasser since being featured in our stock down section last week. The lack of progress shown by the rookie led the team to sign veteran kicker Nick Folk. Since arriving in Foxboro, Folk has been the better kicker. We’re not sure if Rohrwasser’s recent accuracy woes are due to an injury of some kind, but we do know this is not what the Patriots had in mind when they selected him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft, a pick many considered a reach at the time. It’s looking more and more likely by the day that Folk wins the starting job.