Please look somewhere else if you want someone to slow down the Jacob Hollister hype train. The New England Patriots undrafted rookie tight end recorded an impressive 116 receiving yards in his debut and that’s a good sign of things to come.
As Oliver Thomas noted in his evaluation of Hollister, the Patriots preseason leader in receiving yards usually makes the week 1 active roster, if only for the start of the season. The previous leaders in receiving yards include TE A.J. Derby (189 total receiving yards, 2016), WR Chris Harper (150 yards, 2015), WR Brian Tyms (188 yards, 2014), WR Kenbrell Thompkins (166 yards, 2013), and WR Matthew Slater (190 yards, 2011!!!!!!!!).
In fact, only once during Bill Belichick’s tenure has the Patriots preseason has the team leader in receiving yards not made the week 1 roster. WR Darnell Jenkins led the team with 145 preseason receiving yards in 2010, but the then-27-year-old receiver was instead signed to the practice squad.
Undrafted players like Shockmain Davis (126 yards, 2000), Bam Childress (216 yards, 2006), C.J. Jones (134 yards, 2008), Thompkins (2013), Tyms (2014, technically suspended to start year), and Harper (2015) have used their preseason-leading performances to secure final roster spots. Hollister could (and probably should) be next in line.
With 116 yards, Hollister already has the 31st most single-preseason receiving yards for a New England player. Only 14 players have more than 150 receiving yards, and Childress is the only player to surpass 200 receiving yards. With Rob Gronkowski likely not suiting up in the preseason, Hollister should have all opportunities to rise up the charts.
And Hollister’s 116-yard game is unique on its own as it’s in a three-way tie for the 4th best single-game receiving performance under Bill Belichick.
Rookie Deion Branch led the Patriots with 129 receiving yards in his first preseason game of 2002 against the New York Giants. Two weeks later, David Patten recorded 124 receiving yards against the Carolina Panthers.
In 2014, we experienced Tymsanity as Brian Tyms picked up 119 receiving yards in the opening preseason game against Washington.
And then Hollister’s 116-yard performance is tied with Bam Childress (2006, Giants, week 4) and Kenbrell Thompkins (2013, Lions, week 3) for the fourth-best performance.
Only two other players- RB D.J. Foster (110 yards, Giants, 2016 week 4) and WR Dedric Ward (100 yards, Bears, 2003 week 4)- have breached the 100-yard plateau.
It should also be noted that Hollister is the only tight end on the eight-player chart (and Foster deserves credit as the only running back) and he already ranks fourth in Patriots tight end single-preseason receiving yards.
Derby collected his impressive 189 yards on 15 receptions during the full 2016 preseason, while Ben Watson picked up 181 yards on 13 receptions in 2006. Aaron Hernandez grabbed 178 yards on 16 receptions in 2011.
The tight end still has a long way to grow before he can be counted on as a valuable contributor for the Patriots offense during the regular season, but he’s already put together an impressive preseason- and that’s usually a great sign for the player’s odds to make the final roster.