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 recent free agency pickups.
Name: Scooby Wright III
Jersey number: 96
Opening day age: 25
Size: 6’0, 250 lbs.
2018 review: Even though he played ten games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 and proved himself a capable special teams presence, Scooby Wright entered 2018’s training camp on the roster bubble. That being said, the team did give him plenty of chances to earn a spot over the course of the preseason: appearing in all four of Arizona’s exhibition contests, Wright was used extensively on both defense and special teams.
Defensively, he was on the field for 79 of a possible 291 snaps (27.1%) and registered 7 tackles as well as a pass deflection and a quarterback hurry. However, he failed to capitalize on the opportunities given to him and was uninspiring in his role as a middle linebacker: Wright struggled in the running game and had little actual impact as a pass defender both in coverage and when asked to rush the quarterback.
He fared better in the kicking game, both in terms of playing time and performance: Wright played a combined 52 snaps on special teams (of 111; 46.8%) and saw action on all four coverage units as well as the place kick block teams. The roles looked more natural to him, but combined with his performance on defense did still not help him claim a spot on Arizona’s 53-man squad: Wright was let go on cutdown day.
After his release, the former seventh-round draft pick remained on the open market for more than three months before joining the Arizona Hotshots of the new Alliance of American Football. Wright went on to appear in seven games for the team as an inside linebacker and special teamer, but found himself out of a job again when the league folded in April before its first season had even concluded.
2019 preview: After losing core special teamer Brandon King to a torn quadriceps during the third preseason game, the Patriots opted to bring Wright on board — presumably to provide depth in the linebacker/special teamer role King used to play. That being said, the 25-year-old is far from a lock to make New England’s roster considering his career so far in combination with his lack of experience in the team’s system.
It therefore seems likely that his tenure with the Patriots will come to an end later this week: unless he consistently stands out during practice and the fourth preseason game, his addition this late in the summer makes it near impossible to catch up and challenge other players on the roster trying to carve out a spot in the kicking game. Is it still possible he does just that? Sure, but the odds are against him.