New England Patriots

Jul 28, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots receiver Nelson Agholor (13) catches a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t take much to stand out in the Patriots’ still-questionable wide receiver group. But Nelson Agholor did on day 1 of 2021 training camp, making solid connections with rookie quarterback Mac Jones and looking like the early leader to top the depth chart.

That last detail really should be the case, since Agholor signed with the Patriots for two years and $22 million ($16M guaranteed) in free agency. The likelihood is still that the Pats’ new-look passing offense runs through their free-agent tight ends, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. But Agholor at least needs to be a fine complementary option on the perimeter, and he looked like one to start training camp.

Agholor and Jones connected for arguably the most promising overall passing play of the morning during an 11-on-11 red zone drill. After Jones passed through his initial progressions, he saw Agholor with an open window in the back-left corner of the end zone. Jones dropped a dime into Agholor’s hands in stride for a “touchdown.”

Drops have been an issue for Agholor throughout his career, but they were not on Wednesday. He also made a nice play to “score” a “touchdown” on a pass from Cam Newton, getting separation against Justin Bethel on a double-move in the back corner of the end zone (for one reason or another, corner plays were emphasized all morning).

It wasn’t a perfect practice for Agholor and Jones, who couldn’t hook up on a couple of early red zone drills. But none of the Patriots’ other wide receivers stood out on multiple plays the way Agholor did.

Certainly a long way to go for the Patriots’ free-agent addition. But Agholor is off to a decent start.

MORE: Alex Barth’s Patriots Training Camp Notebook

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at