New England Patriots rookie slot receiver Braxton Berrios comes to the team with high expectations despite being drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
If it wasn’t for Troy Brown, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, sixth-round draft pick Braxton Berrios would just be another rookie trying to battle his way onto the 2018 New England Patriots 53-man roster.
Because of those players and their success in the Patriots system, the University of Miami Hurricanes product comes with high expectations despite his small frame. At 5-foot-9, 183 pounds, Berrios is a physical reminder of all the players named above.
But, it’s not just that. You see, he has that resiliency each of those players had to have to make it in the NFL as productive players.
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Each of those players also had a quarterback named Tom Brady throwing to them. While Braxton Berrios hasn’t had the chance to work on any chemistry with the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback during this spring’s organized team activities, he has that same quickness, speed and tenacious toughness that made Brown, Welker, Amendola and Edelman such special slot receivers.
Honored by the comparison, Berrios has used those players as a focus of his study.
"“They’ve done an incredible job in getting handed their role and working it to a master level,” he said, via The Boston Globe. “Obviously I’ve seen them, I watch them, I study them, along with a lot of other guys in the league. They’ve done an incredible job and I’m really excited to learn some things.”"
While Berrios may ultimately be the replacement for Danny Amendola, there is some deep competition at the wide receiver position entering training camp. Not only is Julian Edelman back looking as healthy as ever, veteran receiver Jordan Matthews hopes to redirect his career with the Patriots at the slot position.
But, that competition just feeds into the type of player Braxton Berrios is.
"“One of the things about Braxton, obviously, is that he played in a good program and he was productive at a high level,” New England Patriots receivers coach Chad O’Shea said. “He’s a guy that showed competitiveness on the field and a lot of the traits that we want in a receiver. That’s where the evaluation starts for us at the receiver position. We really value the traits of a player and that’s very important to us.”"
If history is any indication, those traits will land Berrios a big role on the team eventually. He is the little big man who could become a large factor in the future of the New England Patriots.
Julian Edelman bringing that edge to OTAs
Braxton Berrios also has learned to play with an edge and that is many of the things he’ll pick up when studying Julian Edelman.
The rookie has had a up close and personal view of the 32-year-old receiver during OTAs. After returning from a season-ending ACL tear, Edelman has looked as good as ever during workouts. The one thing he has brought to the table that the team has missed last season is his competitiveness.
That is something that young players like Berrios will feed off. It is also something that former New England Patriots running back Kevin Faulk has lauded as one of Edelman’s greatest values to the team.
"“He’s definitely in the category of one of the most competitive players I had as a teammate,” Faulk said last Thursday, via the Boston Herald. “Man, he was fearless. It goes back to a young age when someone tells you that you can’t do something. He’s had that chip on his shoulder for a long time.”"
Expect that chip to fuel him this upcoming season. Coming off the injury, many expect a limited Julian Edelman. But, he is proving so far that he may come back as fast and strong as ever.
If he does, watch out NFL.