Patriots Minicamp Set to Begin: 5 Players to Watch

Ian Logue
May 11, 2012 at 10:54am ET

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Dont'a Hightower and the rest of the Patriots rookies will get to work for the first time this weekend. (US Presswire)

There's been plenty of excitement since draft weekend, but starting today fans will finally get an opportunity to hear about how the newest Patriots rookies start to fit in here in New England.

Rookie minicamp is set to open today, which should finally shed some light as to some of the strengths each player has and we'll get to learn a little more about them since media members will finally have a little more access to them. Access is still somewhat limited, with the media only able to view a little over 30-minutes of each session, but either way it's still going to be nice to finally be able to begin to get a feel for where some of the new guys may fit in.

In the meantime here are a few thoughts on five players who should be pretty interesting to hear about over the coming days:

Chandler Jones - There has been a lot written about New England's first selection, and Jones' long arms and big frame are going to be interesting to hear about during these first few practices.  It's also going to be curious to hear about where they end up lining him up, and what roles that they begin working him in.

Dont'a Hightower - The same can be said about Hightower, who with his versatility is definitely an intriguing player.  He's a guy who most analysts expect to have an immediate impact this season, and it's going to be interesting to hear about how and where they begin working him in.

Tavon Wilson - The surprise of the Wilson selection is going to have the rookie under the microscope this weekend.  The expectations are high because of Bill Belichick's comments after he was selected, and how he performs is likely going to be one of the biggest stories of this minicamp.

Nate Ebner - Ebner is definitely another interesting character, and he's made it clear he loves the game and just flat out loves hitting people.  He won't get to do that this weekend during what is generally more of an instructional few days for the rookies, but how he looks on the defensive side of the ball is also going to be something to keep an eye on.

Alfonzo Dennard - From most reports Dennard seems to be a guy whose risk was worth the reward despite his legal issues.  The seventh-round pick out of Nebraska was arrested just before the draft, which Bill Belichick acknowledged afterwards clearly affected where he was selected.  Most of the chatter after the fact talked about what a great talent he was and how this was a fantastic move by the Patriots. Needless to say this will be the first glimpse of whether or not he lives up to those expectations.