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 a second-year defender.
Name: Harvey Langi
Jersey number: 48
Opening day age: 25
Size: 6’2, 250 lbs.
2017 review: Even though Harvey Langi went unselected during the 2017 draft, he quickly found a home in the NFL: The Patriots signed him to a free agency contract and Langi established himself as a player worth keeping in the fold. After a strong training camp and preseason, the Brigham Young product made New England’s 53-man roster and started his rookie year as a developmental depth option at linebacker.
Langi saw his first in-game action in week two of the regular season and played six snaps on defense and 12 on special teams during the Patriots’ blowout win over the New Orleans Saints. Not only did he dip his toe in the pro football waters, he also registered his first ever NFL statistic by registering a kicking game tackle. After week two, Langi was a game day inactive three straight times before his season came to a sudden end.
On October 13, Langi and his wife, Cassidy, were waiting in their car for a red stoplight to turn green when they were rear-ended by a driver going 50 mph. The couple survived the crash but not without suffering serious injuries. Cassidy sustained fractures to both her hips as well as broken ribs, Harvey injured both his neck and his head – injuries that would keep him off the football field for the rest of the season.
2018 preview: Seven months removed from the near-fatal car crash, Langi was back on the Patriots’ practice fields during organized team activities and minicamp – already one of the feel-good stories of the year. Practicing without any visible physical limitations, the second-year defender is therefore able to position himself well in the battle for a roster spot at the linebacker position one year after making the team as an undrafted rookie.
While he is not guaranteed a roster spot, seeing him make the team again would not be that big of a surprise: Langi offers good size for what New England wants from its elephant linebackers – outside linebacker/defensive end hybrids –, and brings the necessary versatility to the table to be used on and off the line, as a pass defender and a downhill run stopper, and on special teams. Furthermore, he now has one year of NFL experience under his belt.
Of course, Langi will need to prove over the course of training camp that he is fully back form his season-ending injuries to survive a spirited competition for playing time and ultimately roster spots behind linebacker locks Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy. Going against returning veterans Elandon Roberts and Marquis Flowers as well as rookies Ja’Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam, Langi needs to have a similarly impressive outing this summer as the one he had last year.
He certainly has the upside and natural talent to emerge victoriously from the competition. But even if he fails to do that and does not earn a spot on the 53-man squad, he would be an intriguing practice squad addition; one that could continue working on his craft behind the scenes. Either way, Langi should be expected to be part of the 2018 Patriots in some capacity.