Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brady: Work ethic is one of Thompkins' best attributes


New England Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins had a rookie year like most youngsters just starting out in the league -- flashes of brilliance clouded by a plethora of mistakes.

The 25-year-old out of Cincinnati tallied 466 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games in 2013. He put up 127 yards in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons and even averaged 30 yards a catch in the team's Week 11 loss to Carolina.

But with the good, there was plenty of bad.

Thompkins was out of sync with quarterback Tom Brady for much of the year, routinely turning or cutting the opposite direction of Brady's throws. On top of that, he had a serious case of butter fingers, ranking 104th out of 111 receivers in catch percentage (46.4 percent), according to ProFootballFocus.

But Thompkins has been putting in plenty of work throughout the offseason, and it's showing. He reportedly shined during the Patriots' first training camp session Thursday, pulling in a pair of touchdown catches and working with the projected starters of the receiving corps on fade routes.

The team's veteran signal-caller recognized the young receiver's efforts, saying his hard work certainly hasn't gone unnoticed.

"He works his tail off, so I think that’s one of his best attributes," Brady said, via "There is nothing that has ever been given to him, so it’s great to see a competitor like that. And when your guys make plays like that, it just elevates the rest of the team.

"It’s fun to be out there with him. I have a lot of confidence in him, a lot of trust. He’s a great guy."

Thompkins will be battling fellow sophomore Josh Boyce, along with a slew of rookies, for what will likely be the team's final starting receiver spot. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are surefire picks for Nos. 1 and 2 on the depth chart if they can stay healthy, while Aaron Dobson and five-year vet Brandon LaFell will battle for playing time, as well.

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