We have entered the deepest depths of the NFL offseason. Free agency and the draft are behind us, while minicamp and training camp won't start until early June and late July, respectively. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop.
After all, until the late-August's roster cuts, players need to have secured their spots on the team. Over the course of the next few months, we will take a look at the men fighting for them on the 2017 New England Patriots. 53 of currently 89 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Today, we’ll continue the series with one of the team’s depth receivers.
Name: Devin Lucien
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 13
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’2, 200 lbs.
2016 review: The Patriots selected Devin Lucien in the seventh round (pick #225) of the 2016 draft. One of two wide receivers drafted by the team, the former UCLA and Arizona State standout joined a crowded wide receiver corps consisting of roster locks Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and fellow draftee Malcolm Mitchell.
Buried on the depth chart, Lucien appeared in only two preseason games, catching three passes for 39 yards. Over the course of his first summer in the NFL, he failed to make a substantial enough impact to realistically contend for a spot on the active roster. As a result, Lucien was released during final roster cutdowns.
The very next day, however, the Patriots re-signed him to their practice squad, where he spent the entire 2016 season. Following Super Bowl LI, New England signed Lucien to a one-year future's contract.
2017 preview: Despite intriguing physical skills, Lucien will once again have to fight an uphill battle for practice reps and ultimately a spot on the Patriots' 53-man roster. After all, New England retained all four of its primary wide receiver of last season, while adding Brandin Cooks via trade. All five – alongside special teams ace Matthew Slater – are locks to make the team.
Given the depth and talent ahead of him on the depth chart, therefore, it would be a surprise to see Lucien ultimately make the team as a depth wideout. Consequently, his best chances of sticking around are either as an injury replacement for one of the core wide receivers or yet another season on the practice squad.