The New England Patriots, who are currently in their middle of their 2019 training camp, have 90 players on their active roster at the moment. 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 New England’s latest free agency signing.
Name: Martez Ivey
Jersey number: TBD (offseason #67)
Opening day age: 24
Size: 6’5, 305 lbs.
2018 review: A former five-star recruit that entered college as the number two prospect in the country, Martez Ivey headed into his senior season at Florida with thirty-one starts (ten of which at left guard) to his name. 2018 was therefore more of the same for the 6-foot-5 lineman: Ivey started all thirteen of the Gators’ games, and held down the fort at left tackle on one of the better offensive lines in the SEC.
Earning his third straight second-team All-SEC nomination, Ivey was a durable and consistent player last year but not always a productive one. That was especially in the passing game as he surrendered a combined 19 quarterback disruptions on the yea, according to the Pro Football Focus draft guider: Ivey allowed Florida’s quarterbacks to be sacked 3.0 times, while also giving up 7 hits and 9 additional hurries.
The reason for Ivey’s struggles as a pass protector and inconsistencies as a run blocker both originate from his technique. Despite bringing an ideal frame and serviceable mobility to the table, he was too sloppy at times when it comes to his footwork and hand placement which was apparent against speed rushers. Furthermore, Ivey’s balance and functional strength were lacking as was his recognition speed.
In short: he was a classic underachiever in college, who won primarily because of his size and raw skill. As a result, Ivey entered the pre-draft process as an under-the-radar candidate — one that did not help himself at the combine after sitting out all of the on-field drills. And while he did have the longest arms at 36 1/4, it was no surprise to see the draft come and go without Ivey’s name getting called.
2019 preview: Ivey generated little interest following the draft, but did get invited to the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie minicamp as a tryout. The team was apparently not impressed and opted not to offer him a deal — paving the way for the Patriots to pick him up earlier this week: Ivey, who had just turned 24, filled the roster spot that was created when third-year tackle Cole Croston was waived with a non-football injury designation.
Even more than Croston, Ivey is firmly on the roster bubble. After all, he is a project at this stage in his career that needs to quickly get up to speed and show improvements in all facets of his game. The most important thing for him will therefore not be worrying about a roster or practice squad spot, but just about showing that he can develop into an NFL-caliber lineman under veteran offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.
If that happens, the team may opt to continue working with him (likely on the practice squad). If not, however, Ivey’s tenure in New England will be a short one.