The New England Patriots currently have 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 course of the offseason, we 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 recently re-signed wide receiver.
Name: Devin Lucien
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 10
Opening day age: 25
Size: 6’2, 200 lbs.
2017 review: Coming off a rookie season which he spent on the Patriots’ practice squad, Devin Lucien’s second-year in the league got off to a solid start: The Arizona State product caught nine passes for 136 yards and a touchdown during the preseason as one of New England’s top wide receiver options. However, Lucien ultimately failed to make the team’s deep position depth chart and was not signed to the team’s practice squad either.
Instead, the Patriots waived him with an injury designation and moved him to injured reserve after he went unclaimed through the waiver wire. Lucien’s stint on the list was a short one, though: four days after being moved there, the team released him again as part of an injury settlement. Only a few days later, the Indianapolis Colts signed the former seventh-round draft pick to their practice squad.
Lucien did not find a permanent home in Indianapolis either: the Colts also placed him on an injury list before letting him go in early October. The wideout remained on the open market for the next month before the Kansas City Chiefs picked him up via their own practice squad. Lucien was released again after a month, and signed to the Houston Texans’ scout team in early December. He lasted for a week before being let go again.
In late December, Lucien signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad and remained with the team for the remainder of the season – and into 2018 as well after signing a one-year futures contract. However, the Buccaneers decided to let him go in May.
2018 preview: After his release from Tampa Bay, Lucien remained a free agent until the Patriots brought him back on Monday. The move comes at a time of uncertainty at New England’s wide receiver position: With Julian Edelman suspended for the first four weeks of the season, Chris Hogan is the only surefire lock to be on the team’s 53-man roster on opening day. This leaves up to four spots open – and eight players fighting for them.
Lucien’s biggest advantage when compared to his competition is his experience in the Patriots’ system: He has already spent more offseasons with the team than all other wide receivers not named Edelman or Hogan (or Matthew Slater, for what it is worth). If Lucien can take advantage of it and make the most out of his practice reps with the top offense led by Tom Brady, he might position himself well for a spot on New England’s payroll.
As has been the case the last two years, his limited ceiling will be hard to overcome against more talented wideouts and will likely lead to Lucien getting the axe in September. However, he could potentially return via the practice squad for what would be a third year if a) New England keeps no less than 53 men on their active roster at all time, and b) he shows enough potential to serve as an added layer of depth; a “break glass in case of emergency” player.