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 analyze fullback Joey Iosefa.
Name: Joey Iosefa
Jersey number: 47w
Size: 6'0, 245 lbs.
2015 review: Iosefa was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of last year’s draft and spent the first three months of his professional career in Florida. However, he did not survive final roster cuts and was waived on August 30. After subsequently joining the FXFL, the Patriots signed Iosefa to their practice squad on October 19.
Two months later, he was promoted to the 53-man roster and was active for the Patriots’ games against the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. Following the game in New York, Iosefa was waived and re-signed to the practice squad again.
Overall, the Hawaii product finished his rookie campaign with 15 rushing attempts for 51 yards, while playing 23 snaps on offense and none on special teams.
2016 preview: The Patriots signed Iosefa to a reserve/futures contract after their season ended, but waived him in early May. One week later, the team brought the 25-year old back, giving him a chance to compete for a roster spot.
Iosefa currently is one of only two pure fullbacks on the roster, the other being James Develin. It is highly likely that New England keeps no more than one fullback on its 53-man roster and the veteran Develin is the favorite to earn this role. Of course, the second-year player Iosefa could surprise over the course of the summer and challenge the favorite for his spot.
Given his stature and the fact that he – as opposed to Develin – worked primarily with the running backs and not the tight ends this spring, Iosefa might even be a candidate to potentially find a niche as the Patriots’ second bigger back behind LeGarrette Blount. However, given New England’s current running back depth chart, it would be a surprise to see Iosefa earn a roster spot over some of the other players.
From today’s perspective, it seems more likely that Iosefa will be an emergency option on the practice squad in case Develin and one of the bigger running backs (Blount, Tyler Gaffney) once again suffer injuries.
Joey Iosefa had one of the better runs of the Patriots’ 2015 season. However, it is unlikely it would have occurred if not for injuries to multiple players ahead of him on the depth chart.
Therefore, unless the injury bug bites New England’s running backs for the second straight year, Iosefa will likely not see a lot of – or any – chances this year to repeat the little success he had last season.