This Breakout Patriots Rookie is More Than Just a Great Name

Patriots rookie Ameer Speed is making his impact and could play a significant role in 2023.
Patriots rookie Ameer Speed is making his impact and could play a significant role in 2023. /

It’s an NFL preseason tradition for fans of every team to get way too excited about long-shot rookies. And for some reason it always seems to be the rookies with the coolest names that get extra hype. And why not? Who doesn’t want to see a guy like Ameer Speed thrive?

This year, however, it may be more than just a cool name that helps a rookie break out in New England. Speed is making a real impact in training camp, and Patriots insider Zack Cox reports the sixth-round pick is already carving out a role for himself.

Ameer Speed Patriots Outlook

Speed is getting a ton of crucial looks in special teams roles in training camp, including serving as the personal protector on the punt team.

A sixth-round pick from Michigan State, Speed is a huge defensive back (6-foot-3, 209 pounds), which is also something that makes him an intriguing special teams option. You want special teamers who can run, play physically and tackle, and Speed checks all the boxes.

I’m going to resist urges to make puns about him offering more than “mere speed,” but Speed absolutely does have outstanding top-end speed that can make him dangerous on kickoff and punt teams, and you’re not going to find many players his size who run so well.

And if anyone is going to award a roster spot based on special team prowess, it’s Bill Belichick. Just ask Matthew Slater how much Bill values elite special teams contribution.

There’s been basically no buzz about Speed’s play at cornerback in camp, but as a sixth-round pick even just seeing the field on special teams is a great start to a career, and it can earn the opportunities to get in practice reps to develop as a potential defensive contributor too.

He also did show out with some serious versatility in his preseason debut, which is probably what has led to his increased looks this week:

It will be very interesting to see if things continue in this direction for Speed, who could prove to be a draft steal for New England.

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