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New England Patriots

Sep 15, 2018; Toledo, OH, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Jeff Thomas (4) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Toledo Rockets at Glass Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

You can’t have training camp without some notable absences, although the Patriots attendance was overall solid on Monday.

All but five players were on the field for the team’s first full-speed practice of the season. Those missing were 2020 third-round pick Anfernee Jennings, UDFA wide receiver Jeff Thomas, free agent defensive tackle Beau Allen, and running backs Sony Michel and Lamar Miller.

Jennings, an Alabama product, could end up with a medium-to-large role in the Patriots defense following a mass departure of linebackers in the offseason. With Brandon Copeland penciled in on one side, the expectation is Jennings, second-round pick Josh Uche, as well as returning Patriot Shilique Calhoun will compete for the job on the other side.

Thomas is perhaps the team’s most talented and most hyped UDFA this season. The Miami product was expected to be a day two draft pick last fall, but character concerns caused him to go undrafted. Given the Patriots lack of depth at wide receiver, he is believed to be in serious contention for a roster spot.

MORE: Patriots taking team approach to preventing COVID spread

Allen was signed by the Patriots back in March. The 6-foot-3, 327 pound defensive tackle is expected to compete for the role left open by Danny Shelton’s departure in free agency.

Michel and Miller’s absences aren’t much of a surprise. Both opened camp on the PUP list, meaning they’re not eligible to practice. Often, players on PUP will stand on the sidelines during training camp practices, but it is possible that practice is being eliminated this year due to COVID.

For updates on attendance and more from Patriots training camp over the next two weeks, make sure to check back regularly to 985TheSportsHub.com.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.