The New England Patriots, who will be off until training camp starts in late July, currently have 90 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 undrafted rookie signings.
Name: Nick Brossette
Position: Running back
Jersey number: TBD (offseason #64)
Size: 6’0, 220 lbs.
2018 review: After three years of little more than a rotational backup role, Nick Brossette emerged as LSU’s top running back in 2018. As a result, the senior led the team in every major rushing statistic when the season was over: Brossette, who appeared in all thirteen of his school’s games, finished his final college campaign with the Tigers with 240 carries for 1,039 yards (4.3 per attempt) and 14 touchdowns.
Along the way, the Louisiana native proved himself to be a rather consistent but not particularly flashy running back. While Brossette does have sufficient size to serve as a big early down back in the mold of ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount, his lack of burst and straight-line speed were on display regularly in 2018 and contributed to him entering the pre-draft process flying under the radar despite coming from a prominent program.
Brossette ultimately (and rather unsurprisingly) did not hear his name called on draft weekend, Despite posting solid numbers in the toughest conference in the country and showing some versatility — he added 14 catches for 78 yards but generally is no receiving threat out of the backfield, and also saw regular time on special teams — his limited athleticism and modest upside as a lead back prevailed.
2019 preview: Brossette was picked up by the Patriots with the first wave of undrafted free agency signings to add some depth at running back. The group, however, already was one of the deepest in the entire NFL even before the draft. The rookie therefore faces the near-impossible task of making a name for himself despite five roster locks — Sony Michel, Damien Harris, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden — ahead of him on the depth chart.
Ultimately, Brossette appears to ‘only’ fight for a spot on the practice squad given the current construction of the roster: too deep is the group overall for him to carve out a regular role or see top-level snaps during training camp or the preseason. Unless major injury strikes — especially when it comes to Michel, who missed parts of offseason workouts due to an issue with his knee, and Harris — the 23-year-old will spend 2019 behind the Patriots’ scenes or on another team altogether.