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FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 29, 2021: Kristian Wilkerson #17 of the New England Patriots during training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 29, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Kristian Wilkerson few under the radar as a rookie in 2020. The Southeast Missouri State wide receiver spent training camp with the Tennessee Titans before being released during final roster cuts. He was promptly signed to the Patriots’ practice squad, and was elevated for one game during the season, playing two offensive snaps.

As his second NFL season gets underway, Wilkerson is making more noise. Teammates raved about his performance as Jarrett Stidham’s and Cam Newton’s unofficial passing camps. He followed that up with an impressive first week of training camp, highlighted by arguably the best catch a Patriots player has made this summer, fading back to grab a 50/50 ball on Day 1 of practice.

Wilkerson began camp in a crowded group of receivers presumably competing for the final spot at the position on the 53-man roster. Others expected to have a shot at that role include Isaiah Zuber and Tre Nixon.

While Wilkerson’s hot start drew the most attention, it’s not even his most relevant part of the week when it comes to earning that spot in the roster. In fact, the time he spent separated from the offense may have been the most valuable.

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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 abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.