The New England Patriots currently have the maximum of 90 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the next weeks, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s undrafted rookie signings.
Name: Shane Wimann
Position: Tight end
Jersey number: TBD (offseason #69)
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’4, 250 lbs.
2017 review: During his second year as a starter, Northern Illinois’ Shane Wimann continued to improve and was able to set new career marks in every major statistical category: the senior tight end, who appeared in all 11 of the Huskies’ games, finished the season with 30 catches for 283 yards and a squad-high seven touchdowns – all while also playing a key role as a blocker in the team’s run-first offensive scheme.
As the conference’s best player at his position, Wimann earned first-team all-MAC honors during his senior campaign. However, he was still not invited to the scouting combine and entered draft season as an afterthought at tight end due to his limited athleticism and comparatively low ceiling as a receiver and a blocker. It was therefore no surprise to see Wimann go unselected during the draft and enter free agency.
2018 preview: Shortly after the draft, the Patriots signed Wimann to a three-year free agency contract that would hit the team’s salary cap with $480,000 this season – if he makes the roster that is. And that is not a given considering his status as an undrafted rookie and the current composition of New England’s tight end depth chart: while only the top spot is definitely set, the rest of the roles appear to be predetermined as well.
Behind Rob Gronkowski, last year’s depth duo of Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister is favored to make the 53-man roster. With the team not expected to keep more than three tight ends on its active team, Wimann would have to either beat out one of them over the course of training camp or, more realistically, hope to earn a spot on New England’s practice squad. Either way, the 23-year old appears to have his work cut out for him.
It would therefore not be a surprise if Wimann ultimately turned out to be little more than a camp body. If he proves his value and potential as an emergency option on offense and special teams, however, he could challenge the Patriots’ depth options eligible for the practice squad. As things stand right now, this appears to be his best shot at remaining on the team’s payroll.