Later this week, the New England Patriots will return to the practice fields for the start of their 2016 training camp. The battles for spots on the team will then officially enter the next round as 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 continue the series with offensive tackle Keavon Milton.
Name: Keavon Milton
Position: Offensive tackle
Jersey number: 74w
Size: 6’4, 320 lbs.
2015 review: After stints with the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns, Milton was signed by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2014 season. He spent his entire 2015 training camp with the team but was let go when the then-defending NFC champion trimmed its roster in early September.
Milton was without a team until the Patriots signed him to their practice squad mid-November. He spent the rest of the 2015 season there and ultimately signed a one-year reserve/futures contract with New England after the team’s season ended in January.
2016 preview: The Patriots’ offensive tackles struggled in 2015, be it because of injury, talent, form or a combination of the three. In short: any help is welcome. Milton, who has appeared in nine games over the course of his three-year NFL career, might be able to help New England’s offensive line, but he still has an uphill climb in front of him to do that and make the team.
Looking at the Patriots’ roster right now, Milton has to leapfrog three players – Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming – to earn a spot on the team. Judging by his professional career thus far, it seems like the odds of him doing that do not look overly good. After all, the 26-year old has not been able earn consistent playing time the last three seasons.
Therefore, he has to make the best out of every practice rep he will get in the upcoming weeks by blocking with sound technique and showing that he can perform not only at tackle but maybe guard as well. If he does that and is able to become a reliable offensive lineman under coach Dante Scarnecchia, Milton might be able to earn a spot on either the active roster or the practice squad – considering that the tackles on the roster are the same as last year. However, if he does not improve and consequently fails to put additional pressure on Cannon, Waddle and Fleming, Milton’s future prospects in Foxboro do not look good.
As things currently stand, Keavon Milton finds himself on the outside looking in. However, things can change quickly in New England and if Milton is able to prove himself early in camp, he might be able to stick around; and if it is just on the practice squad.