The mandatory phase of the New England Patriots' offseason workouts is over – at least until training camp starts in late July – and we have re-entered the quieter parts of the NFL calendar.
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 running back Tyler Gaffney.
Name: Tyler Gaffney
Position: Running back
Jersey number: 36w
Size: 6'0, 220 lbs.
2015 review: In July 2014, the Patriots claimed then-rookie running back Tyler Gaffney off waivers from the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, the former Stanford Cardinal spent his rookie year on injured reserve.
Gaffney’s 2015 season was no different: it also began and ended on New England’s injured reserve: he was waived by the team in August and placed on the list the next day. As a result, Gaffney has yet to play a down in the NFL – no matter if regular season, postseason or even preseason.
2016 preview: Earlier this year, the Patriots opted to release Gaffney, only to bring him back three days later on a one-year deal with a lower salary. Thus, the 25-year old will have another chance to showcase his worth and potentially earn a spot on the Patriots’ roster.
Given that he is the only bigger runner to backup presumptive roster lock LeGarrette Blount, his chances are not too bad considering his past two seasons. However, with roster spots at a premium and the Patriots generally placing more focus on the so-called passing back, Gaffney needs to beat out talented contestants James White, Donald Brown and D.J. Foster.
If he can stay healthy, finally live up to his potential and take advantage of his experience within the system, he might have decent chances of making the team or at least the practice squad. Given his past, this is a big "if", though.
Tyler Gaffney is an intriguing player. After all, he has rushed for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns in his last full season. Unfortunately, this happened in 2013 and Gaffney has not yet been able to translate his potential to the NFL.
If he can finally put it all together in 2016 and be competitive over the course of the summer, he might have a future in Foxboro. If not, then his tenure with the Patriots will likely be over for good.