New England Patriots: How Devin Lucien will crack the 53-man roster

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 01: Mykkele Thompson /

Could last year’s seventh-round pick Devin Lucien find his way on to the New England Patriots 53-man roster?

Throughout New England Patriots training camp there have been a handful of injuries and rehabbing players.

This has led to opportunities for some of the back-end roster players. Some have taken advantage of these opportunities like Adam Butler or Kenny Moore.  However, the only one who is really flourishing with increased opportunities might be the only one with close to no shot at the roster, last year’s 7th round pick, WR Devin Lucien.

At 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Devin Lucien could develop into a strong outside option. This, along with his development on the Patriots practice squad, is probably what led Bill Belichick to sign Lucien to a futures contract two days after the Super Bowl.

So far so good. Lucien has made play after play this training camp as well as in OTAs. He has delivered on deep ball plays from all three quarterbacks as well as made some yards after the catch.

Stacked at wide receiver

Unfortunately, as many of you are already aware, the Patriots’ receiver depth chart is pretty well stocked with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and Malcolm Mitchell all locks for the roster, not to mention special teams captain Matthew Slater.

The only three that are even a little unsecured are Malcolm Mitchell, who has been rehabbing most of the summer, Danny Amendola, who is at a point in his career where he is a situational player at best, and Matthew Slater, who is rehabbing from a possibly serious injury from last week and missed some games last year as well.

However, Mitchell is only in his second year and played a great Super Bowl, Amendola continues to deliver in big moments, and Slater is a leader of the team and one of the best gunners in the NFL.

Is it conceivable that the Patriots would carry seven wide receivers into the season? Generally the answer to this question has been no. However, the New England Patriots do not like to lose talent. It is also unlikely that Lucien would pass through waivers to the practice squad at this point.

Remember Zach Sudfeld?

This situation has slivers of 2013’s training camp with camp standout, Zach Sudfeld. He most likely would have joined the practice squad, but he had such a great camp that Belichick was forced to keep him on the roster or risk losing him.

Unfortunately, it turned out that he was actually no good and Belichick promptly released him after week four. However, Sudfeld at least was not in such a positional crunch as Lucien is in now.

A player to watch this Thursday night

As the first preseason game approaches, it will be interesting to see if Devin is able to play as he came up clutching his left hamstring late on Tuesday.

Hopefully it is just a temporary setback and he will suit-up and show the world, or at least everyone who watches Patriots-Jaguars preseason game one, who Devin Lucien is and what he can bring to the team in a game environment. Maybe in a few weeks a solution will present itself through injury or cuts.

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If I had to bet though, one of three things happens:

  • Lucien gets cut as the Patriots try to slip him onto the practice squad only for him to get picked up by another team.
  • The New England Patriots decide it is not worth the risk to get him to the practice squad and go seven deep on the receiver depth chart.
  • Matthew Slater or another key special teams player gets cut to make room. Slater is currently on a one year deal and is already 31 years old. He suffered a possibly serious leg injury last week. If he doesn’t get right quickly, his job could be gone. Devin Lucien is already being tried out on special teams to add versatility to his package of skills.

I am sure Devin’s fate will not be decided anytime soon, especially with the NFL changing cut-down rules this year to a single cut-down at the end of camp.

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However, if Lucien keeps competing at a high level, especially if he gains Tom Brady’s trust, option two or three start to look much more likely. Good luck Devin! Hope to see you flying high on Thursday night. Go Pats!