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 continue the series with linebacker Ramon Humber.
Name: Ramon Humber
Jersey number: 53
Size: 5’11, 235 lbs.
2015 review: As he has been his entire career, Ramon Humber was a special teamer first and a defensive player second in 2015. Overall, in the 14 games he was active, the veteran played 50.5% of the New Orleans Saints’ special teams snaps (236 of 467) and 25.6% of the team’s defensive snaps (272 of 1,063).
Humber put up solid numbers in his final year in New Orleans. Despite seeing limited playing time as a sub-linebacker, he finished the season with 47 tackles (one of which for loss), 1.0 sack and one pass defensed. Furthermore, Humber, who was a team captain in 2014, added nine tackles on special teams.
However, despite a solid season, the Saints released Humber in February. One month later, he signed a one-year, $961,250 contract with the Patriots.
2016 preview: While he has been serviceable as a linebacker, Humber’s forte is his special teams play. In order for him to make New England’s 53-man roster, he needs to showcase his abilities in this part of the game over the course of the summer. After all, Humber needs to beat out some young and talented competition to earn a spot as a backup linebacker and member of the Patriots’ special teams units.
Humber’s biggest advantage is his experience. He has been with two teams and has been a special teamer and rotational defender the last seven seasons. If the young players on the team fail to develop, Humber should be ready to take over for them and secure a spot on the roster.
However, if players like Kamu Grugier-Hill, Elandon Roberts and Jonathan Freeny are able to take the next steps in their development on defense and in the kicking game, it would not be a surprise to see Humber’s tenure in Foxboro end before it even begins. Especially considering that two of the three – Grugier-Hill and Roberts – have a higher ceiling and lower salary cap hit than Humber.
Ramon Humber was an unspectacular free agency signing but might end up playing valuable snaps on special teams. However, while he might make the roster and become a contributor in the kicking game, the team would probably prefer its younger and cheaper options to step up and earn roles on the team. Consequently, the odds might not exactly be in Humber’s favor.