The New England Patriots, who are entering the final days of their organized team activities, currently have 89 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on August 31 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the summer, we will take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots defend their Super Bowl title.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s wide receivers
Name: Damoun Patterson
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 17
Opening day age: 22
Size: 6’2, 190 lbs.
2018 review: After going unselected during the 2018 NFL draft, Damoun Patterson was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency. But despite being one of the club’s most productive pass catchers in preseason — Patterson led the team with 9 receptions, which went for 112 yards and a touchdown — the Youngstown State product was released with an injury designation during early September’s final roster cutdowns.
Patterson, who saw most of his action in the first preseason game and was rather quiet over the remainder of the exhibition schedule, had suffered a turf toe injury in the fourth contest after all. With no team claiming him on waivers, he reverted to Pittsburgh’s injured reserve list. Just one week later, however, he was let go again and remained on the open market until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to their practice squad in mid-October.
His tenure in Tampa Bay lasted only one month, which allowed the Patriots to add Patterson to their own practice squad on November 9. He spent the remainder of his rookie season on New England’s scout team, but still found a way to contribute: Patterson earned recognition as a ‘practice player of the week’ seven times over his ten weeks with the club, tying defensive lineman Trent Harris for the team lead.
2019 preview: The Patriots signed Patterson to a futures contract after their Super Bowl win, which gives the 24-year-old a chance to compete for a spot on a crowded but mostly open wide receiver depth chart (only two of a projected five spots are definitively locked up at the moment) this summer. But while Patterson is an undrafted journeyman, his chances of making the roster or practice squad are not as bad as one might think.
After all, Patterson brings some experience in the Patriots’ system to the table and was a standout during practice in 2018. Practice and actual in-game performance are two different things, of course, but as Ernie Adams pointed out during 2015’s Do Your Job documentary, there is “no such thing as a game-day player.” This, in turn, bodes well for Patterson when considering how his tenure in New England went so far.
Ultimately, however, Patterson will need to consistently translate his practice performances to actual games in order to make the roster. But even if he fails to do that, the practice squad might again be a possible destination — one that would allow Patterson to continue contributing while further developing his skills in a stable environment.