Five Patriots players worth keeping tabs on in camp

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Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Brandon LaFell: Wide Receiver, LSU

The Pats inked LaFell to a three-year deal worth $9 million this past off-season. The former Carolina Panther has steadily progressed throughout the course of his career.

LaFell, now 27, is in a great position to thrive in a Patriots offense that desperately needs production at the receiver position.

Danny Amendola‘s health seems to be constantly in question. Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, both entering their second year, are working their way back from an injury shortened debut season. LaFell could develop into a go to guy for Tom Brady alongside Julian Edelman given the known status of the receiving corps.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 210 pounds, LaFell will provide Brady with a physical aerial target. He caught 49 passes and 5 touchdowns last season. Both were career highs for him. Those numbers are almost guranteed to climb with Belichick and Brady at the helm.

The Patriots red-zone efficiency took a hit last year when Rob Gronkowski went down. With his health in question for the start of the season, LaFell’s large frame could pay major dividends when the Patriots approach paydirt. He should haul in a decent amount of touchdown grabs. He has an ability to snag jump-balls, especially when matched up on smaller corners. LaFell will get plenty of good looks.

But it remains to be seen whether LaFell has what it takes to become an effective player within New England’s offensive scheme. We’ve seen free-agent signings like Joey Galloway, Chad Johnson, Mike Jenkins and Torry Holt come in and fail in the past. Hopefully LaFell starts strong out of the gate and delivers.