By most accounts, Brandon Tate has disappointed thus far in training camp, entering his third season with the New England Patriots after being drafted in the third round by the team in 2009. Tate hasn't developed into the deep threat that the Patriots thought he would. Many media members and fans alike are skeptical as to whether or not he will make the team's final roster.
Despite this general belief, KC Joyner of ESPN recently gave Tate some praise as a "V-Factor" player (someone who is a game changer like Michael Vick). Here's what he had to say (ESPN Insider Story):
Want to know how Tom Brady tied for second in the NFL in yards per stretch vertical attempt (20-plus yards)? Look no further than Tate. His ability to break open on corner, post and go routes was key to the two-year pro catching six of 12 stretch vertical targets for 241 yards and two TDs last season.
To be honest, I'm not sure where Tate is headed in his third season. His role as a kick-off returner has been limited due to the new kickoff rules, and he just hasn't gotten many reps with the top units in the preseason. Still, the stats that Joyner threw out there are intriguing. Perhaps Tate's disappointing start to 2011 has made him undervalued by some Patriots fans.