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 New England’s latest acquisition.
Name: Henry Poggi
Jersey number: 48
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’4, 260 lbs.
2017 review: While 12 other players on Michigan’s roster had more rushing attempts last season than Henry Poggi, and 15 had more receptions, he still played an important role for his team in 2017. After all, the fifth-year senior served as the primary fullback in a run-first Wolverines offense that saw its backfield average 40.7 rushing attempts per game, gaining 177.7 yards and two touchdowns per contest.
Poggi contributed only one run to the stat sheet – a two-yard touchdown against Maryland; his first career score – but was still a big part of Michigan’s ground game. Displaying good vision while playing with excellent technique in attacking his targets, the fullback was an able lead blocker capable of also being used as a pass catcher from time to time: Poggi finished his final college season with two catches for 21 yards.
Being a fullback and regular special teams contributor – especially one that has his athletic limitations – is not necessarily a recipe to get drafted in today’s NFL, however. Unsurprisingly, Poggi went unselected before signing a free agency contract with the Oakland Raiders. His stint with the team came to an end in late June, and the soon-to-be 24-year old has been on the open market ever since.
2018 preview: The Patriots made a series of roster moves recently, and the latest of which saw them add Poggi to their 90-man roster. While the rookie will now get a chance to prove his value in an NFL training camp, it will likely be a short experience for him: with James Develin as New England’s undisputed number one fullback, Poggi is projected to get released when roster cutdowns take place in early September at the latest.
That does not mean that the rookie has no future with the Patriots, though. If he turns out to be a quick learner and one able to adapt to life in the pros, Poggi could very well find his way onto New England’s practice squad as an emergency option at both fullback and tight end. And as such, he could continue working on his skills to potentially take the next step in 2019 – whether with the Patriots or another team that still values the fullback position.