The New England Patriots, who are currently in their middle of their 2019 preseason, have 89 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 New England’s defensive linemen.
Name: Ufomba Kamalu
Position: Defensive edge
Jersey number: 94
Opening day age: 26
Size: 6’6, 295 lbs.
2018 review: Despite coming off his most successful NFL season — one during which he appeared in nine games as a rotational edge defender — the Houston Texans decided to part ways with Ufomba Kamalu on 2018’s cutdown day. He had seen regular action both during training camp and the preseason, but failed to convince the coaching staff to hold onto him. However, his stint on the open market was a relatively short one.
In late September, the Arizona Cardinals brought the former undrafted free agent on board and signed him to their practice squad. Kamalu spent the next month with the team before getting released yet again. This time, he had to wait until November to join another club — his third in as many months: the Patriots added him to their practice squad on November 5, to bolster their depth along the defensive edge.
After earning practice player of the week honors twice while on the practice squad, he finally was promoted to New England’s active roster in late December. And while he spent most of the remaining season as a game-day inactive, the Miami product did also appear in a two games: against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in weeks sixteen and seventeen, Kamalu was on the field for a combined 21 snaps on defense and 11 more in the kicking game.
Even though he did not stand out — Kamalu was primarily used as a pass rusher and registered two hurries; he also had one tackle for loss in the running game — the third-year man did enough to keep his spot on the team heading into the postseason. And while he did not see any playoff action, he still ended the season with a Super Bowl ring.
2019 preview: Even though he ended 2018 on New England’s active roster, Kamalu entered his first offseason with the team as a bubble player at the defensive edge. Little appears to actually have changed when it comes to this status with three weeks of preseason play behind us and the NFL’s cutdown day less than a week away: Kamalu, who played 52 of a possible 157 defensive snaps (33.1%) during the exhibition games fo far, remains on the bubble.
After all, New England appears to have considerable depth ahead of him in both its 4-3 and 3-4 looks: he is little more than a backup player player at outside linebacker and defensive end, and appears to be closer to the bottom of the depth chart than its top at both spots. And although he did have his moments during preseason — Kamalu registered a 16-yard sack on Thursday against the Carolina Panthers, for example — his days do seem to be numbered.