New England Patriots: 3 surprising moves on cutdown day

Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Jake Bailey #7 and Quinn Nordin #3 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The last roadblock of the NFL offseason was officially removed this afternoon when the New England Patriots officially set their 53 man roster in stone. Cutting a roster down to 53 is one of the most difficult parts of the NFL, but the Patriots have made it through yet another difficult cutdown process, and the fans finally know who the 53 players on their team are.

That’s not to say the Patriots didn’t make headlines today with some surprising decisions. New England was in the headlines early and often today (as they have been for most of the offseason), and surely made the biggest cut of the day, which we will discuss in more detail later on.

Head coach/general manager Bill Belichick has been known to be stone cold when it comes to making roster decisions, and today was just another example of his cutthroat nature. It’s clear Belichick will not settle for another season of mediocrity in New England, and today proved that. Let’s take a look at three of the most surprising moves from cutdown day, starting with an unexpected result at kicker.

New England Patriots surprise move No. 3: Quinn Nordin beats Nick Folk

One of the more under the radar position battles throughout training camp was at the kicker position. Nick Folk was the presumed starter after being a bright spot of sorts last season, but it became clear early on he was going to have some serious competition from undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin. It appears Nordin has beat out Folk for the kicker job, ending one of the more interesting position battles of training camp.

Folk missed a large part of camp with various injuries, seemingly opening the door for Nordin to snatch the position away from the aging veteran. Nordin stood out in the preseason opener against the Washington Football Team, hitting all three of his field goals, including a 50 yarder. That success was short lived however, as Nordin missed a field goal and two extra point kicks in the second game against the Philadelphia Eagles, seemingly ending the competition.

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But Nordin managed to stick around, and made it all the way to the end of camp. While Folk hit his only field goal attempt against the New York Giants, Nordin went 2/3 while also hitting his only extra point. In the end, it appears his bounce back game was enough to earn him a roster spot.

While Folk is probably the safer, more consistent option here, the upside with Nordin is much more present. He’s just a rookie and has room to grow, and his leg strength is much greater than that of Folk’s. We have seen times recently where the Patriots found themselves in a tight position because of Folk’s lack of range, so keeping Nordin around opens some more doors for the Pats.

It was clearly a tight competition considering it came down to the last possible day, but it always seemed like Folk had the inside track considering how well he played last season. But Nordin was available when Folk was not, and ultimately was able to win the position over the presumed starter. It was a bit of a surprise when it was announced, but Nordin is probably the better option at kicker for the Patriots, and we will soon see if the move pays off.