FOXBOROUGH — James O’Shaughnessy’s acquisition was kind of lost in the shuffle of the three-day draft extravaganza, but he’s now on a mission to be the Patriots’ latest find.
The third-year player is in the mix for the team’s third tight end spot behind veterans Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.
O’Shaughnessy, who was caught in a numbers crunch in Kansas City, will battle Matt Lengel, Sam Cotton, and Jacob Hollister throughout the summer for a job in the fall.
O’Shaughnessy was caught a little off guard by the trade but he quickly set his sights on New England.
“I’m very happy to be a part of this very successful organization,’’ said O’Shaughnessy, who played behind Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris in Kansas City. “I’m happy to get another opportunity and anxious to get this year going.’’
New England acquired O’Shaughnessy and a sixth-round pick in exchange for a fifth-rounder.
“He played quite a bit for Kansas City, mostly in the kicking game, but has some skills at tight end,’’ said coach Bill Belichick. “We’ll put him in the competition, see how it goes. It felt like the trade was something we were willing to give up for a player of his caliber, so we made that move.’’
O’Shaughnessy has been solid through two days of camp as he tries to make a deeper impression on a team that did a lot of work on him coming out of college.
“I remember working out for them in the predraft process and they were a team I was excited to work out for,’’ said O’Shaughnessy.
An Illinois native and alum of Illinois State, O’Shaughnessy was familiar with another future teammate after battling Jimmy Garoppolo’s Eastern Illinois squad several times.
“I think we got him one time — we beat them,’’ said O’Shaughnessy. “Then the second time when they had a new offense, they beat us by 50 his senior year.
“I always say I remember him more than he remembers me.’’
O’Shaughnessy said Garoppolo has “been great to me since I got here. He’s helped me pick up the offense and getting acclimated to the offense. I’m fortunate to have someone from the same neck of the woods.’’
The 6-foot-4-inch, 245-pounder said all the quarterbacks have been helpful as he gets acclimated to the system.
“I’m happy with what I’ve done so far but I’m not sitting on my laurels,’’ said O’Shaughnessy. “I’ve got a lot to prove and I’m excited about the opportunity to do that.’’
It may just be minicamp, but veteran safety Devin McCourty said Belichick is in midseason form.
“He’s been pretty hard on us, as far as telling the players, he only knows one way no matter who’s here,” said McCourty, “so we’ve kind of gotten that. When practice has been bad or things have been bad, it’s been front and center in that morning meeting with clips and everything. He gives us a first-hand example of what he thinks is right and what he thinks is wrong.’’
McCourty wasn’t complaining. In fact, he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I think the greatest thing about playing here under him is consistency — he doesn’t really get swayed by success, failure, anything,’’ said McCourty. “He kind of has a certain level where he wants guys to compete at, wants the effort level at, execution, all of that, and if it’s not met each day, he’s going to be on us.
“He’s going to be ripping us. He’s going to be telling us what needs to happen and changes will happen, like that.
“For me being here, now my eighth year, he’s not BS-ing. That’s the truth, so you’ve got to know it and raise your level up.’’
Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and rookie offensive lineman Andrew Jelks were the lone absentees from practice. It was the second straight miss for Jelks . . . Left tackle Nate Solder was back on the field after being out on Day 1 . . . Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive tackle Alan Branch, and receiver Malcolm Mitchell again did most of their work on the lower field . . . Kyle Van Noy intercepted a Garoppolo pass and subtly let the quarterback know he was pleased with his pick . . . As always, Julian Edelman went full out on every snap and made a tremendous diving effort of a deep ball in the end zone that just glanced of his fingertips . . . As always, Edelman did his share of barking at the defense . . . The cornerbacks dropped en masse and did pushups at the conclusion of one session that ended with a nice reception in traffic by rookie Cody Hollister . . . Hollister had a nice day with four catches . . . Jacoby Brissett and rookie offensive tackle Tony Garcia took penalty laps . . . There were a couple of tightly contested battles between ex-Bills Chris Hogan and Stephon Gilmore. That should be fun once the full-pads practices arrive.
There are times when Brandin Cooks appears to moving at warp speed. He had a number of nifty plays, including a catch-and-run from Tom Brady on which he dusted several defenders . . . Rookie receiver Austin Carr dropped two straight passes but came back a play later with a dandy. He made a handful of catches on the day, as did running back Rex Burkhead . . . With U2 due in town in a few weeks, “Vertigo” and a splendid live version of “I Will Follow” were among the musical selections blared during two-minute drills . . . A day after the Patriots hosted the Florida staff, the Vanderbilt coaches were on hand, and Belichick spent a good bit of time chatting with head coach Derek Mason . . . Former Bruin favorite Shawn Thornton arrived at practice with Stephen Gostkowski and stayed for the entire session.