In not even one 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 defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.
Name: Woodrow Hamilton
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: 74b
Size: 6’3, 315 lbs.
2015 review: Hamilton’s senior season at Ole Miss was the most productive of his five year collegiate career. The defensive tackle appeared in 12 games on one of the SEC’s most opportunistic defenses, finishing the year with 30 tackles (3.5 for loss), one quarterback hurry and one sack.
But while his run defense numbers were solid, Hamilton’s overall play did not stand out enough – particularly against the pass – for him to get drafted.
2016 preview: As noted above, Hamilton was an able run defender but less productive against the pass. Consequently, unless he improves his pass rushing, he projects to be an early-down player at best at the next level. Unfortunately, this lowers his chances of making the team, given the defensive tackles on the roster.
Four interior defenders – Malcom Brown, Vincent Valentine, Alan Branch and Terrance Knighton – are locks or near-locks to make the team; and all four have shown the ability to play three defensive downs. Therefore, Hamilton has to compete against the other defensive tackles for practice reps and a chance to make the team as a fifth defensive tackle or, more likely, earn a spot on the practice squad.
Given his deficiencies against the pass, the practice squad seems like a realistic option for the 23-year old rookie. He could continue to work on his craft over the year and get more experienced in New England’s system to potentially replace one of the older defensive tackles on the roster next season. He still has to earn that spot in the upcoming weeks, though.
Woodrow Hamilton has some potential to build upon. While he will likely never be the next Vince Wilfork, he could become a solid depth player for the Patriots. However, given the current state of the defensive tackle depth chart, it seems unlikely that he will get the chance to become a rotational member of the 53-man roster just yet.