With opening day almost two months away and the mandatory portion of the initial wave of offseason workouts over, we have entered the more quiet parts of the NFL offseason. However, while the football world seemingly turns slower these days it does not stop.
During workouts and studying sessions, players still have a chance to lay the foundation for 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 90 players will be asked to help the team defend its Super Bowl title.
Today, we will continue the series with one of the Patriots’ depth players at the offensive line.
Name: Chase Farris
Position: Offensive guard
Jersey number: 66
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’4, 295 lbs.
2016 review: Despite being a starter on one of college football’s best teams, Ohio State, offensive tackle (and former defensive lineman) Chase Farris went undrafted in 2016. Instead, the Detroit Lions signed him as a free agent shortly after the draft, moved him to guard and made him compete for a role along their interior offensive line. However, Farris failed to earn a spot on the Lions’ 53-man roster.
Despite playing a total of 82 offensive snaps during the team’s first three preseason games, Farris was released prior to the fourth. He was, however, signed to Detroit’s initial practice squad before the start of the regular season. After two weeks on the Lions’ practice squad, the team opted to release Farris yet again.
Two weeks later, the Patriots brought him aboard through their own practice squad. And while Farris had another short stint as a free agent in late October, he finished his rookie campaign on New England’s scout team, earning a Super Bowl ring as well as one practice player of the week honor (week 13) in the process. Following the season, the team re-signed Farris to a one-year futures contract.
2017 preview: The Patriots currently have eight interior offensive linemen on their roster; among them Chase Farris. With the starters likely set in stone – from left to right: Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason – the 24-year old appears to at best be fighting for a backup spot. And if the past is any indication, New England will not carry more than two additional inside blockers on their 53-man roster.
As a result, Farris will have to fight against favorite Ted Karras, veterans James Ferentz and Jamil Douglas as well as undrafted rookie Jason King and possibly even tackle-converts for practice reps, preseason playing time and ultimately a spot on the team's payroll. As things currently stand, Farris is projected to stand on the outside looking in given his lack of experience and past production at the guard position.
And while he could still be able to earn a spot on the roster with a solid training camp, the more realistic scenario appears to be – at best – another stint on New England's 10-men practice squad. There, Farris could further work on his technique and improve as an offensive lineman to potentially be promoted during the regular season or compete for a roster spot in 2018.