New England Patriots: Tre Nixon emerging as a potential option at WR

New England Patriots wide receiver Tre Nixon Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots wide receiver Tre Nixon Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots‘ three-day mandatory minicamp is already almost over. Despite two of the three days of work being in the rearview mirror, some players have already begun to stand out and make their mark as preparations for the 2022 season begin.

Every year, there is at least one player who has a standout spring, and looks capable of being an impact player when the games actually count. Sometimes, in the case of a guy like Jakobi Meyers, who had a standout spring back in 2019, they stick around and eventually carve out a starting role for themselves. Other times, like Josh Uche last year, it doesn’t end up working out that way.

So far, one name that has garnered a lot of buzz early on is slot receiver Tre Nixon. Nixon was New England’s last pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he spent the entire season on the practice squad before signing a futures contract after the season ended. And early on, Nixon has taken a big step forward, and he could be in the process of earning himself a roster spot for the 2022 season.

New England Patriots may have unearthed a hidden gem in Tre Nixon

When Nixon was the only wide receiver selected in New England’s 2021 draft class, many fans were upset. Not only did they not take multiple guys at the position, they waited all the way until the seventh round to grab one. But Nixon is proving he may actually have been worth the wait.

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After spending all of last season on the practice squad, Nixon has turned some heads through the first two days of minicamp. He’s developed a clear rapport with Mac Jones under center, which goes back to them working out together last summer before Jones took over the starting gig. Now Nixon is getting some runtime with the starters, and he’s taking full advantage of it.

Nixon is a slippery receiver out of the slot who can create seperation with a combination of solid route running and speed. He’s been shaking whoever has been covering him off pretty consistently, even New England’s top slot corner Jonathan Jones.

Nixon has also made a couple of fantastic catches along the way, which certainly helps. He was on the receiving end of a beautiful deep ball from Jones yesterday where he outplayed both Jones and Devin McCourty, and he made smooth one-handed catch with Jones in coverage today that drew some praise from his teammates.

Despite adding Devante Parker and Tyquan Thornton to the wide receiver room this offseason, the New England Patriots can still use all the help at receiver that they can get. Meyers is probably the top slot guy right now, but he can play on the outside too if Nixon forces his way onto the roster.

Nixon was also seen fielding punts today, which is a good sign, because in the end, he still is facing long odds to make the team. He’s going to have to make some sort of special teams contribution if he wants to earn a spot, so if he can return punts and kicks too, that only helps his case.

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It’s still extremely early, but after two days of minicamp, it’s looking like Nixon may be a guy to keep an eye on throughout the summer. He’s clearly got a good relationship with Jones, but now he’s got to focus on continuing to improve his game on a day-in day-out basis.