The New England Patriots currently have 89 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 one of New England’s offensive linemen.
Name: Ted Karras
Position: Center / Guard
Jersey number: 75
Opening day age: 25
Size: 6’4, 305 lbs.
2017 review: Ted Karras’ second year in the NFL looked similar to his first one: he served as a backup option along the Patriots’ offensive line and as such played extensively in two games, but otherwise saw only limited opportunities. Overall, the former sixth-round draft selection played a combined 151 offensive snaps (of 1,139; 13.3%) during the regular season before adding three more in the first round of the playoffs.
The Illinois product saw his most action in weeks 11 and 12, when he replaced injured starter David Andrews at the center position. Karras was a solid fill-in and gave up only one quarterback hit in the process. When Andrews was back at full health, however, he was relegated to a backup role again and played only 15 more snaps as a rotational option at center and guard for the remainder of the season.
While his offensive contributions were rather limited, Karras, who spent the first week of the season on New England’s practice squad, was a regular on special teams: he saw action in all 19 games and played a combined 105 of a possible 540 kicking game snaps (19.4%) as a blocker on field goal and extra point attempts. All in all, Karras’ sophomore campaign was therefore a continuation of his rookie season.
2018 preview: While only the Patriots’ five starters are roster locks among the team’s current 15 offensive linemen, Karras’ chances of joining them appear to be rather solid — especially with first-round rookie Isaiah Wynn headed towards season-ending injured reserve. As things stand right now, after all, the 25-year old again is New England’s top backup option along the interior line.
If he keeps that role through the rest of preseason and — unlike last season — roster cuts, Karras’ 2018 campaign should look similar to his first two in the NFL: as a rotational player, he will see only irregular snaps but be the first man up in case one of the three interior starters gets injured. Furthermore, he should be used in the kicking game on a fairly regular basis.
Of course, Karras needs to earn a spot on the team first and show that he is a valuable option as a backup lineman despite his relatively low grow potential.