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Look in the OTAs! It's a Quarterback! It's a Tight End! It's a Punter! A Punter?

What exactly IS Kyle Auffray and can he help the Patriots?

Without any fanfare at all, the Patriots signed a TE named Kyle Auffrey.  Kyle started his college career on scholarship as a quarterback at Mississippi State.  Following a dislocated knee in his first few months, Kyle was quickly on the bottom of the four QB depth chart.  Following a coaching change, he decided his best chance at playing time would be to try his hand at the University of New Hampshire.

Once there, head coach Sean McDonnell told him his best chance to see the field would be a position change.  Unlike a certain QB from Florida who is no longer employed in the NFL, he listened and spent his final two years at college playing tight end.  Oh, and for a change of pace, he earned the job of punter his senior year averaging 37.7 yards per punt.  In their run first, run often, and run some more offense, he was primarily a blocking tight end.

Still, he was invited to the combine:

You can read more about his interesting journey here.

At the 2013 Super Regional Combine in Dallas he put up the following numbers:

  • 6' 6" 252 lbs (Aaron Hernandez posted 6' 3" 245 lbs)
  • 34" vertical   (Aaron Hernandez posted 33")
  • 4.57 s 40 yard dash (Aaron Hernandez posted 4.64 s)
  • 28 reps of 225 lbs (Aaron Hernandez posted 30)
  • 4.15 s short shuttle (Aaron Hernandez posted 4.18 s)
  • 6.72 s 3 cone (Aaron Hernandez posted 6.83 s)
  • my apologies on not having his hand size available, Doc.

Strictly from a measurables stand point he doesn't remind me of um, any particular player at all *cough* Hernandez *cough*. He's just an athlete at a position where we are short an athlete or two.  What he does lack is experience, and that has hurt him to date.  BTW, he wore number 81 with the Cardinals.  I mention that for um, no particular reason.

Revenge of the Birds had this to say last year:

For a bigger body used primarily as a blocker in college, he does a decent enough job catching the ball. He ran a 4.73 40 a couple years ago and has been training hard this off-season to get back into the game, saying he's in the best shape of his football life. A stand-out at the NFL's Super Regional Combine, Auffray survived a field of over 2,600 other NFL hopefuls to reach the final event and parlayed that chance into a roster spot with the Cardinals. Pretty good for a guy who was ready to go play in Poland a few months ago.

Then there's this praise from the Hooded One:

"The week of the draft before I signed with Arizona, I had a private workout with the New England Patriots," he said. "It was a very challenging workout and at the end of the workout [Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick walks over to me and told me, and his exact words were, ‘that was pretty impressive.’ For him, being a multi-Super Bowl winning, Hall of Fame coach to say that my skill set and my abilities were impressive kinda reinforced all the hard work and perseverance I’ve been through."

So why didn't Bill sign the guy?  At the time we had Gronk, Hernandez, Sudfeld (who was still Studfeld), Ballard, and pretty much any other free agent TE on the roster.  Unlike Pokemon, you can't catch'em all, so he popped up on the Cardinals roster.  A rash of injuries to the Cards' defensive players (sound familiar ?), and he was a roster casualty once again.

"I didn’t get let go in Arizona because of lack of talent or lack of ability," Auffray said. "I’m a hard-working guy. I do all the right things off the field. I’m very knowledgeable of offenses and defenses, and I know how to study film. I am very versatile, I’ve played quarterback, receiver, tight end, punter and H-back. I’ve done it all. … A team has nothing to lose with me and everything to gain."

Now I'm not going to pretend that Auffray is a lock to make the roster.  He's not.  In fact he's a long shot.  He is worth keeping an eye on as the position battles progress though.  He's played both Y and F roles, but his measurables place him firmly in the Move TE role which is currently pretty vacant, unlike a prison cell somewhere.  He is also playing with a chip on his shoulder like a certain 6th round QB we know.

Kyle Auffray is a long shot to make the roster, but if he sticks, he may be just what we've been missing.  For his sake and ours, I hope so.