Every year brings some good training camp battles but with the players the Patriots have drafted over the last two years and the shopping spree they went on this offseason, there has a chance to be some really good ones at Patriots training camp this year. Here’s five battles I’ll be keeping an eye on this August.
1 - Quarterback
Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones
I wrote an entire blog on this yesterday, be sure to go and check that out. This is the battle to end all battles, as QB competitions usually are. Every throw these two guys make over the next month is going to be overanalyzed, as it should. These two are going to make the preseason games must see tv. They are essentially two completely different QB’s and the offense will look completely different when each one is under center. There hasn’t been a more intriguing training camp battles in decades, if ever, here in New England.
2 - Wide Receiver
Nelson Agholor vs. Jakobi Meyers vs. Kendrick Bourne vs. Gunner Olszewski vs. N’Keal Harry vs. Isaiah Zuber
This isn’t a one-on-one battle here, this is a battle royal. You will have guys competing for roster spots, snaps, targets. You could have Agholor vs. Meyers for who will be the top outside receiver and Bourne vs. Gunner for who will be the top slot receiver, while having guys like Harry and Zuber competing for a roster spot. With the Patriots loading up at tight end, there’s a chance only 4 receivers make this roster. It will be interesting to see how fast Agholor and Bourne acclimate to the Patriots offense. Will Gunner continue to emerge? Will Meyers take the leap to legit starting receiver in this league? Don’t sleep on Tre Nixon either.
3 - Defensive Tackle
Davon Godchaux vs. Christian Baremore
Godchaux was one of the Patriots big free agent signings and Baremore was their second round pick. Both come in with high expectations and there’s a chance only one makes a significant impact. There is a chance that both could play and even start together depending on what defense the Patriots play (3-4 or 4-3) and depending on if one of them can play end in a 3-4 defense. But they will likely be competing for reps as the defensive tackle on the Patriots three-man front.
4 - Safety
Adrian Phillips vs. Kyle Dugger
Phillips was excellent for the Patriots in 2020 but Dugger came on late and played well down the stretch. Devin McCourty is obviously starting at one Safety spot, one of these guys will get the other spot. Which ever one doesn’t start will most definitely get reps but I believe it’s time for Dugger to take the jump to starter and own this position.
5 - Kicker
Nick Folk vs. Quinn Nordin
Folk was good last year but he is not the long term answer at Kicker. You almost expect the clock to strike midnight on Folk in 2021. Quinn Nordin has a big leg but accuracy has been an issue. He will have to make all his kicks in camp to win this job but he has a chance. At some point the Patriots need to find their long term kicker.