What to watch for as Patriots begin OTAs

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The New England Patriots are having a very strong offseason, and they’re hoping to carry it over into the team’s OTAs.

The Patriots’ first organized team activity will take place today. Players are now allowed to be at Gillette Stadium for up to six hours and participate in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, here are some of the top storylines headed into the third part of the Pats’ voluntary offseason program.

The Addition of Brandin Cooks: The addition of wide receiver Brandin Cooks is sure to make headlines during OTAs. Cooks is known for his speed and agility. He adds more depth to a receiver corps that is already powerful. With the likes of Malcolm Mitchell, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman, Cooks is sure to fit in and add an even stronger foundation.

Cornerback Communication: Now that we know where Malcom Butler will be next season, we can now look ahead to how well he will work with new Pats’ cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore is coming off a career-high five interception 2016 season, while Malcom Butler recorded four last year. This will be the first chance the two will get to work together.

Running Back Renewal: We’re getting a whole new look at Patriots running backs this year. With the loss of LeGarrette Blount and the additions of Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead, New England will have to get a new feel for the backfield. Gillislee and Burkhead join James White, Dion Lewis and DJ Foster on the depth chart at the position.

OTAs will run through mid-June.

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