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New England Patriots roster breakdown: #44 TE Steven Scheu

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Can the rookie surprise and earn a roster spot?

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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 rookie tight end Steven Scheu.

Name: Steven Scheu

Position: Tight end

Jersey number: 44

Age: 23

Experience: Rookie

Size: 6'5, 255 lbs.

2015 review: Vanderbilt’s passing offense gained a mere 2,062 yards and 11 touchdowns in its 12 games of the 2015 season. It is therefore not surprising that senior tight end Steven Scheu was one of the most productive members of the unit despite catching only 27 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

With this stat line, Scheu, who appeared in 11 of the Commodores’ games, was unable to repeat his junior year success (he was named All-SEC in 2014). Consequently, he went undrafted in April and was signed by New England as a free agent.

2016 preview: The Patriots have two of the NFL’s premier tight ends as locks to make the roster: Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. Naturally, that only leaves a limited number of available spots on the team; probably no more than two.

In order to secure one of them, Scheu needs to have a good first summer in Foxboro. Given the way the Patriots construct their roster and use their offensive pieces, the 23-year old likely not only needs to outperform fellow tight ends Clay Harbor, A.J. Derby and Bryce Williams but also fullbacks James Develin and Joey Iosefa.

While he has shown flashes during his college career – particularly in 2014 – it would be a minor surprise to see Scheu survive roster cuts. As of right now, it seems more likely that the undrafted rookie stays in Foxboro via the Patriots’ practice squad. Then again, he still needs to perform to earn a spot.

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Rookie tight end Steven Scheu faces an uphill climb to earn a spot on the Patriots’ roster. While it is entirely possible that he surprises and beats out his competition, it seems more realistic to put him on the roster bubble as a potential practice squad candidate.