The Patriots Banking Hop in Year Two by Nelson Agulor, Mac Jones and Others – New England Patriots Blog

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots are in the fourth week of their out-of-season volunteer program, and a broad future veteran Nelson Agulur Already notices a difference for himself.

“Everyone walks certain paths, but the tree of paths [here] “It’s a little different than what I ran before,” he said. Now I know that, so I can put my share on how quickly we do things and play.

“A year ago I was learning, so you’ve been doing things at a certain learning pace. You can never go too fast, because you want to make sure you’re doing it right, so you have to move with caution. Now I know what it looks like and I’m going to put my flavor on it” .

That flavor — for Agulor and a handful of other Patriots entering their second season in New England — numbers will be a critical component if coach Bill Belichick’s side improve last season’s record 10-7 and an embarrassing 47-17 play-off loss to the Buffalo Bills.

And the reason is clear: Unlike the last off-season, when the Patriots spent a record $163 million in guaranteed money in free agency, Belichick has been more conservative this year and relies on internal improvement from 2021 free agents and recruiting selection.

Agholor is a prime example of this thinking. Signed for two years, $22 million in March 2021, his production (37 receptions, 473 yards, 3 TDs) didn’t match the price for a variety of reasons. But he remains optimistic that better days are coming.

“The best part about it, the second year in the Patriots system is when the youth really start. I feel comfortable, I’m excited to have my best season with the Patriots and show why I’m here,” he said.

Agulor joins his returning teammates Jacoby Myers (Team 83’s high catch for 866 yards, 2 TDs) and Kendrick Burne (55 vs. 800, 5 TDs) top receiver depth chart, with seasoned commercial acquisition Devante Parker And quick selection for the second round Tekwan Thornton Complete the top five.

Leaps in the second year are not guaranteed, and many players act as a reminder that they can go in the opposite direction – the receiver nickel harryback corner, Joejuan Williamstight end Devin Asiaand the back Josh O’SheaAnd Chase Winovich And Forever Jennings They are few who come to mind.

With Agholor as a starting point, here are other players acquired in 2021 that the Patriots need to make a big leap in Year Two:

tight end Juno Smith: He signed for four years, $50 million and finished just 28 receptions for 294 yards and touchdowns last season. He made a big change in hopes of a rebound, becoming a full-time participant in the voluntary offseason program. He was not on the program last year, in part due to the expectation of the birth of his daughter, and COVID-19 considerations.

QB Mac Jones: The 15th overall pick ranked second in the Associated Press Offensive’s Novice of the Year vote, so it took the “jump” spot in a different category – leadership. Jones seems to already embrace it, and is more comfortable doing things like opening his house to his teammates on the first night of the draft and having a hibachi chef on hand. Owner Robert Kraft said in late March: “I really believe [Jones] He has a bit more advantage than we’ve seen. But he was respectful.”

back Cameron McGron: When the Patriots picked the Michigan star in the fifth round, they knew he probably wouldn’t play as a rookie as he recovered from a ruptured ACL he suffered in his final college season. McGrone was back in training at the end of last season (he was not activated on the roster), and his quarterback coach Jerrod Mayo would have recognized him when asked about “Bates from the pastPodcast about three fewer linebackers who graduated from college. We have some players who can rush in and cover, and some players that Pats Nation hasn’t even heard of,” Mayo said. “

back Ronnie Perkins: The third-round pick from Oklahoma (96th place) did not appear in a single game, in part because of that Matthew Goodon And Kyle Van Nuy It is anchored above the outer back depth chart. Often seen before games working on swipe tech with skill development manager Jo Kim, he now has a clearer path to a role after the team released Van Noy (Chargers)… if he proves he’s worth it.

back corner Shawn Wade: The Ohio State alum was selected in the fifth round by the Ravens, the Patriots traded for him at the end of the pre-season, ceding the 2022 seventh-round pick and the fifth-round pick for 2023. But the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Wade played in Only three games, partly because of the injury, but also because of the learning curve after arriving so late. Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino explained last season that Wade was essentially learning a new language. The Patriots have a noticeable void in the back corner after JC JacksonThe departure of the free agent, and Wade will compete for it.

back Rickwon Macmillan: The veteran was a big hit in training camp last year before he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and missed the season. Given his injury history, relying on him over a 17-game season carries notable risks. Last year before the injury, Belichick said, “I was very impressed with his intelligence and work ethic. He’s locked in every day.”

safety Joshua Bledsoe: In round six of Missouri State, he arrived in town with a wrist injury and spent most of the year in rehab before returning to training late in the season. He never appeared in a game. If he’s healthy, he has a legitimate chance to be part of the team’s future based on some promising development behind the scenes.

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