By: Steve Balestrieri
New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins is once again this spring making the most of his opportunities. With Aaron Dobson still recovering from off-season foot surgery, Brandon Lafell not a full participant and Josh Boyce sidelined with a minor injury on Wednesday’s Mini-camp practice, Thompkins got a lot of reps and he shined.
Last year in OTAs and training camp, Thompkins did much the same thing. He was the early star of the workouts before finding the regular season was a tad more difficult. He had his share of struggles before ending a rookie season with a good production total of 32 catches for 466 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.
Thompkins knows he still needs to prove himself and so far this spring he’s doing just that. He turned in the play of the day on Wednesday on a fade pattern from Tom Brady in the corner of the end zone just over the outstretched arms of Brandon Browner.
Brady’s pass had to be perfectly thrown and it was as Thompkins was able to just get the ball over the much taller Browner. “Very challenging,” Thompkins said when asked about the difficulty of the play. “Those are tremendous athletes,” (Browner and fellow CB Darrelle Revis) he said. “Those are elite guys and to go here and compete against those guys, and get looks from those guys, it helps us out a lot.”
“I mean at the end of the day it is a competition,” the soft-spoken Thompkins said. “Browner is a lengthy guy with really long arms and it helps (wide receivers) us out. We just have to come out with the ball.”
Thompkins also had another excellent play against Browner on a back-shoulder throw from Brady along the right sideline that left Browner visibly frustrated. Going against elite competition in the spring is definitely going to help not only Thompkins but the other wide receivers as well.
Thompkins is definitely making a case for him to be part of the equation at wide receiver. With Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Brandon Lafell and Aaron Dobson seemingly locked into the top end of the rotation; there is fierce competition among the other seven wide receivers to round out the roster and compete for playing time.
Thompkins knows that his best chance to contribute is to continue working hard and improve. In perfect Patriots mantra he said, “moving forward, I just to keep getting better each and every day.”
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