The New England Patriots‘ 2016 training camp is underway. Players fight for practice repetitions and playing time to earn one of the 53 spots on the roster. They have until late August, when each team has to start making its roster cuts, to secure a role.
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 end Trey Flowers.
Name: Trey Flowers
Position: Defensive end
Jersey number: 98
Size: 6’2, 265 lbs.
2015 review: The Patriots selected Flowers with the 101st pick of the 2015 NFL draft. With the team deep on the defensive edge, the Arkansas product saw only minimal playing time in his first season in New England as his rookie year was essentially a redshirt campaign. He was active for one game and played a mere four snaps (all on defense). Flowers did not register any stats and was placed on injured reserve on December 1st.
The fourth-round rookie did see a lot of playing time during the preseason, though, when he was New England's most active defensive end. He registered 11 tackles (three of which for loss), one sack, three quarterback hits and one defensed pass. In short: despite being hampered by a shoulder injury he suffered in the first preseason game, Flowers was able to flash his potential.
2016 preview: Flowers currently – particularly with Rob Ninkovich having to deal with a triceps injury – projects to be a vital member of New England’s rotation on the defensive edge. He has played this role in the Patriots’ first preseason game, when he was the first defensive end off the bench, and was a standout performer. The 23-year old finished with five tackles, two quarterback hits and a touchdown on a strip sack and return.
Against second- and third-stringers, Flowers has been productive in both pass and run defense. However, he will have to do it against better players in the future to consistently see playing time and have an impact this season. If he is able to do that and can build upon his first game since October 2015, New England has found itself another depth option on the defensive edge. This, in turn, would allow the team to play it safe with Ninkovich while simultaneously being able to lessen the workload of Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long.
Trey Flowers has been able to flash his potential in the 2015 preseason. He also has been able to flash his potential in the 2016 preseason. Hopefully for the Patriots, the 23-year old can continue his growth – unlike last season – and further strengthens his claim for a spot on New England’s defensive end rotation.