Minicamp Breakdown: Offense

PatriotsInsider.com scouted the players at New England's rookie minicamp this past weekend. We bring you an inside look at how each player fared over the two day event.

MINICMAP BREAKDOWN: OFFENSE

Offensive linemen:

Partiots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia instructs three offensive linemen at Patriots minicamp: Hilliard (63), Oldenburg (76) and Elgin (60) May 12, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)

Corey Hilliard: No: (63) Pos: OT Ht: 6-6 Wt: 315 Acq: Draft 6th round -- This lineman will have a tough time making the roster. He was obviously struggling with the pace of practice. At one point Hilliard had to excuse himself, as he was ill on the sidelines. He didn't fare a whole lot better the second day. When asked about camp on Saturday, Hilliard told Patriots Insider "it was a tough day." His comment was probably one of the bigger understatements of the weekend.

Clint Oldenburg: No: (76) Pos: OT Ht: 6-5 Wt: 297 Acq: Draft 5th round -- A big lineman. Kind of reminds me of Wesley Britt, but a little stiffer in his stance. I'm not sure if Oldenburg will make the cut on much more than his physical presence. For a rookie, he's a fairly well built player. He has obviously spent time in the weight room, something Hilliard could stand to do a little more of. When Oldenburg went through his stances, Dante (Scarnecchia) spent a fair amount of time coaching him up on technique. Much of it was footwork related. It seemed that Oldenburg "got it" by the end of the second day.

Mike Elgin: No: (60): Pos: OG/C Ht: 6-4 Wt:277 Acq: Draft 7th round -- The guy has an impressive lineman's gut, but seems to be well schooled in the drills. It's obvious from just the brief time I've been able to watch the O-Line that Elgin is the best of this bunch. He's strong enough to push Oldenburg back in the one-on-one straight ahead run-blocking drills. He doesn't seem to wear down like the other two. But with only three linemen in camp, it's tough to get a real feel for anything they're doing. It will be interesting to compare Elgin to the other reserve center/ guards on the roster like Billy Yates, Russ Hochstein and Gene Mruczkowski when the veterans report to camp.

Running Backs:

RB coach Ivan Fears instructs Chris Vincent (35) and Justise Hairston (43) at Patriots minicamp May 12, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)

Quinton Smith: No: (42w): Ht: 5-11 Wt: 195 Acq: UDFA -- Not present Saturday. Found out he was excused for personal reasons (graduation at Rice). When Smith did practice, under the watchful eyes of running backs coach Ivan Fears, he seemed to be in sync with what was expected of him. Smith showed decent hands running the short flare patterns or red zone drills. His quickness was one thing that caught my attention. The kid looks to be moving pretty fast, without much effort.

Justise Hairston: No: (43w): Ht: 6-1 Wt: 210 Acq: Draft 6th round -- Hairston looks the part of the bigger power back that the team is looking for. He's listed as only 210, and that's probably where he's at right now, but he looks like he has the frame to put on another 10-15 pounds of muscle. Has trouble catching some balls on the RB quick routes they ran. Needed some extra pointers from Fears on some of the drills. At one point on Sunday Hairston was so lost as to how to run a route, Fears called all the backs together to explain what was expected. It looked like Hairston's attitude got him in hot water with Fears, who had a few choice words for the Central Connecticut State product.

Chris Vincent: No: (35w): Ht: 6-1 Wt: 230 Acq: Tryout player -- Not much to tell other than he didn't really do anything remarkable to win a roster spot. At a listed 6-foot-1, 230-pounds, Vincent is probably the body type the Pats are looking for to challenge for a role to be the Corey Dillon role player. He did not outperform Hairston, who seems to have the inside track at the moment.

Wide Receivers:

Patriots QB Matt Gutierrez throws an out to WR Chris Dunlap under the watchful eyes of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on May 12, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)

Chris Baker: No: (6): Ht: 6-5 Wt: 200 Acq: Tryout player -- Tall and lanky at 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Baker has a lot of potential. Unfortunately it doesn't appear he's doing anything special with it so far. The lanky factor may bee too much to overcome, especially now that the team is loaded at the position.

Chris Dunlap: No: (9): Ht: 5-11 Wt: 200 Acq: Tryout player -- This 5-11, 200-pound receiver showed pretty solid hands in camp, but he wasn't really tested. Most of the drills were typical running routes, showing quickness, and then catching balls while avoiding obstacles (cones). When he was asked to run some routes downfield, Dunlap ran the proper route at the proper depth while Gutierrez was able to hit him in stride. It looked like the two had been working together for a while, even though they just practiced together this weekend. That probably bodes well for Dunlap.

Tight End:
Jake Nordin: No: (47w): Ht:6-3 Wt: 262 Acq: UDFA -- The Northern Illinois tight end showed some quickness on his route running and caught nearly everything thrown his direction. Although he's listed as being 262, you wouldn't think so just from looking at him. Nordin looks like a faster, more versatile Andy Stokes (Mr. Irrelevant 2005 Draft). He worked on almost all passing and route running drills, no blocking drills that I saw. He caught the ball well away from his body, and not many of the catches were hand slappers.

(Hand slappers = my term for when the receiver allows the ball to smack into their palms rather than use their fingers to help secure the catch. Usually hand slappers can be heard from across the field in practice when a loud smacking noise is audible as the ball hits the flat of the receiver's hands.)

Quarterback:

Patriots QB Matt Gutierrez prepares to take a snap as tight end Jake Nordin waits ready in his stance at Patriots rookie minicamp on May 12, 2007 (Photo Kevin Saleeba / PatriotsInsider.com)

Matt Gutierrez: No: (7): Ht:6-4 Wt: 231 Acq: UDFA-- How this kid went undrafted I'm not sure. He has a pretty solid arm, although his delivery is a little low. He'll get those passes smacked back at him when the full team scrimmages and larger than life defensive linemen put their hands in the air. Gutierrez has nice zip on the out routes, and only threw a couple wormburners or air balls past the receivers. Had a pretty solid connection with Nordin on up and in routes. Definitely knew how to throw the red zone passes. Rohan Davey should take some lessons from this kid. The icing of the arm after practice on Day one was a concern (See Gutierrez story for photo).


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