We have entered the quietest parts of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until next week and late July, respectively.
However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop. After all, by late August, each team has to start making its roster cuts. Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we'll take a look at rookie wide receiver Devin Lucien.
Name: Devin Lucien
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 16
Size: 6'2, 195 lbs.
2015 review: After three seasons at UCLA, Devin Lucien opted to transfer to Arizona State prior to the 2015 season. But despite being unable to join his new team until mid-June due to the NCAA's transfer rules, the wide receiver had his best collegiate season with the Sun Devils.
Lucien caught 66 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns in his first and only year in Arizona. While he was good his first five games, he elevated his game to new heights during his last seven contests and after growing comfortable within the new offense.
His best three performances came in Arizona State's last three games: Lucien caught nine passes for 190 yards and a touchdown against Arizona, eight passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns against Cal, and nine passes for 144 yards and one score against West Virginia. In short: he was dominant against quality opposition.
And yet, Lucien was not drafted until the Patriots picked him with the 255th selection earlier this month.
2016 preview: Due to his skill-set and frame, Lucien projects to be an outside receiver in New England, whose role could be similar to the one formerly played by Brandon LaFell. As such, the 22-year old would have to fight for playing time – and a spot on the roster – against fellow rookie Malcolm Mitchell and veterans Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson and Nate Washington.
Despite his talent, youth and upside, Lucien is far from a lock to win that battle. After all, New England's wide receiver position is crowded and it is likely that he and the players listed above fight for only two spots on the team. As things stand right now, Martin and Mitchell are the favorites but if Lucien quickly picks up the playbook and develops a chemistry with the quarterbacks, he could very well find himself on the team.
If not, then Lucien – unless claimed by another team – is a prime candidate for the Patriots' practice squad. Or, to catch the "Foxboro Flu".
Devin Lucien is an intriguing player due to his impressive senior year at Arizona State. Will he be able to continue his growth in Foxboro? That's the proverbial million dollar question. If he does, then New England might have found a steal in the seventh round of this year's draft.