2. Malik Cunningham
Unlike White, there weren’t a ton of expectations for Malik Cunningham entering the preseason. After all, he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville who went from racking up 2,941 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2021 to 1,568 yards and eight TDs last fall.
However, the Patriots didn’t add Cunnginham due to his play in the pocket. It’s his legs that make him a dangerous threat, highlighted by his 3,179 rushing yards and 50 TDs on 618 carries over five seasons with the Cardinals.
It didn’t take long for Cunningham to show what he could do on the ground, averaging 6.8 yards on five carries. He also found the end zone with 1:54 remaining in the game, marking New England’s lone TD of the night.
Furthermore, the 24-year-old didn’t look too out of place in the pocket, going 3-of-4 to the tune of 19 yards.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Patriots will use him going forward. With Bailey Zappe poised to be the backup QB once again, the team planned on using Cunningham as a wide receiver this season. Having said that, his impressive performance might lead to some reconsideration.
Perhaps Cunningham has a future where he’s the Pats’ version of Taysom Hill — someone who’s primarily used in the passing/rushing game but can fill in under center when needed.
Regardless, the hype surrounding Cunningham will only grow if he has another exciting showing next week.