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Patriots 2022 roster breakdown: Arlington Hambright has a realistic shot at making the team

Related: Patriots roster breakdown: Jeremiah Pharms Jr. is trying to make a big leap

New York Giants v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

With training camp already underway, the New England Patriots have fully set their sights onto the upcoming 2022 season.

The team currently has 86 players under contract, but only 53 of them will be able to survive roster cutdowns in early September and ultimately make the active team. Over the course of spring and summer, just like we have in years past, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots build on their 10-7 record.

Today, the series continues with third-year offensive lineman Arlington Hambright.

Hard facts

Name: Arlington Hambright

Position: Guard/Offensive tackle

Jersey number: 74

Opening day age: 26

Size: 6-foot-4, 300 pounds

Contract status: Under contract through 2022 (2023 ERFA)

Experience

What is his experience? Hambright originally arrived in the NFL as a seventh-round draft selection by the Chicago Bears in 2020. Despite joining the league in an unfavorable position due to the Coronavirus pandemic, for example, forcing a cancellation of preseason play, he succeeded in making the 53-man roster and remained there throughout his rookie campaign — appearing in 10 games with one start. Hambright was unable to build on this foundation in Year 2, however, and saw no game action the following season.

While he has only limited game action on his pro-level résumé, Hambright has played a lot of competitive football throughout his career. A former no-star recruit out of high school, where he played on both offense and defense, he enrolled at Garden City Community College. After two seasons, he transferred to Oklahoma State in 2017. Injuries limited him to just six games over two years before moving to Colorado as a graduate transfer. Hambright added 12 starts at left tackle during his final season at the collegiate level.

What did his 2021 season look like? Coming off a fairly successful rookie campaign that saw him appear in nine regular season games and a playoff contest, Hambright competed for a backup spot along the Bears’ interior offensive line over the summer. While he did see action in all three preseason contests and ended up playing 99 of 163 offensive snaps (60.7%) at left guard, his performance was uneven: Hambright was credited with a sack and eight additional quarterback disruptions given up.

As a result, Chicago decided to release the sophomore ahead of the roster cutdown deadline in late August. Hambright did go unclaimed through the waiver wire but did not have to worry about finding a new home for all too long: he re-signed with the Bears’ practice squad the very next day. Even though the team struggled along the offensive line — it gave up a league-high 58 sacks — Hambright was never elevated off the developmental roster and ended up spending the entire season there. He did not appear in any games.

2022 preview

What is his projected role? Even though he did see some starter-level reps at right guard throughout training camp, Hambright is not projected to fill such a spot once the regular season begins. With the Patriots seemingly set along their O-line, the 26-year-old is therefore projected to play a depth role at several positions: he most prominently has been featured at guard but also has experience kicking out to offensive tackle.

Does he have positional versatility? Yes, he has. Even if his experience as a two-way player is disregarded — he played offensive and defensive line in high school and early on during his college career — Hambright still offers some solid positional flexibility. The third-year man has lined up at both left and right guard since arriving in the NFL, and also saw a handful of snaps at left tackle in the Patriots’ preseason opener versus the New York Giants.

What is his special teams value? Given his 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame, Hambright should not be expected to have much of an impact on the Patriots’ kicking game operation. There is one exception, though: he will take the field as part of the protection unit on field goal and extra point plays. During the preseason opener, Hambright aligned as the left-side end on such plays, even though he has experience playing in other spots along the line as well.

What is his salary cap situation? The Bears decided against re-signing Hambright before the expiration of his practice squad contract, which allowed him to enter the open market. He joined the Patriots shortly thereafter, signing a one-year contract with the team. That deal is made up entirely of a non-guaranteed $825,000 salary simultaneously functions as the cap number. At the moment, Hambright’s deal does not qualify for Top-51 status and is therefore not counting against New England’s books.

How safe is his roster spot? Traditionally, the Patriots are not keeping more than nine offensive linemen on their 53-man roster. With the five starter spots already occupied, only four positions are left open for competition. Hambright’s versatility — he saw action at both guard spots and left tackle in his preseason debut on Thursday — is a plus, and he also was given some reps with the top unit in practice. He has a realistic shot at making the team, but cannot be regarded a roster lock based on his contract and career thus far.

One-sentence projection: Hambright will be among the four backup offensive linemen to make the initial 53-man roster this season.