The New England Patriots, who are currently in their middle of their 2019 preseason, 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 one of New England’s depth options at offensive tackle
Name: Cedrick Lang
Position: Offensive tackle/guard
Jersey number: 77
Opening day age: 26
Size: 6’7, 300 lbs.
2018 review: After spending almost all of the 2017 season on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad, Lang appeared to be poised to make the team’s 53-man roster the following season as a backup offensive lineman. However, this plan came to a quick end just two games into Minnesota’s preseason: during the team’s week two game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Lang went down with a leg injury that required surgery.
Up until that point, he had played a combined 58 offensive snaps as the Vikings’ backup right tackle and 7 more on the place kick protection teams. Lang was serviceable in both areas, but no sure-fire lock to survive roster cuts. His leg injury, unfortunately, made the decision for him: the Vikings released him with an injury designation on cutdown day, and he reverted to the team’s injured reserve list after clearing the waiver wire.
Lang went on to spend his entire season on Minnesota’s IR. The converted basketball player, who did not play football until his fifth year of eligibility at Texas-El Paso, then saw his tenure with the team come to an end after his contract had expired and he hit unrestricted free agency.
2019 preview: Two weeks after the market opened, the Patriots added Lang on a one-year, $500,000 contract that included $5,000 in guarantees — a deal reflective of his standing on the roster: despite his versatility to play both tackle and guard, the 26-year-old is among the roster bubble players and appears to be on the outside looking in. After all, the right tackle played only the second half during New England’s preseason opener.
Judged by that, Lang appears to be behind both starter Marcus Cannon and undrafted rookie Tyree St. Louis on the depth chart — a position that not exactly inspires confidence when it comes to the first-year Patriot’s long-term outlook. The former undrafted free agent should therefore realistically be expected to see his tenure with New England come to an end sooner rather than later, unless the injury bug bites the offensive tackle spot hard.
The best-case scenario for the club, however, does not include Lang as a member of the 53-man roster. He could make the practice squad, but with St. Louis also seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart even that is not a given.