As the Patriots prepare for Saturday’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, fringe veterans and rookies alike are prepared to continue their 53-man roster battle. After all, with the majority of the roster being set, only limited spots remain as August nears its end.
There’s only one roster cutdown deadline this year following March’s league meeting, but that doesn’t mean long-shots can afford to waste a single snap. All it takes is one bone-head mistake to go from Bill Belichick’s good graces to the unemployment line.
Having said that, some players with less-than-ideal odds to crack the final roster have done a good job of stepping up this summer.
Here are three long-shots who have a great chance of making the Patriots’ final roster this fall.
3 Patriots Long-Shots Who Will Make Roster
1. Malik Cunningham
The last year has been a wild ride for Malik Cunningham.
After a down year at Louisville, the 24-year-old signal-caller joined the Patriots this summer as an undrafted free agent. While he made a name for himself under center during college, New England wanted to give him a shot as a wide receiver à la Julian Edelman.
Fast forward to the second week of exhibition action, and Pats fans wouldn’t mind seeing Cunningham as the No. 2 quarterback behind Mac Jones.
Cunningham gave viewers a taste of what he could do in last week’s loss to the Texans. Even though the Patriots didn’t get the win in the end, the rookie QB stole the show as he turned five rushes into 34 yards with a touchdown and even went 3-of-4 in the pocket for another 19 yards — including one pass for a first down.
Bailey Zappe still has the inside track for the backup role due to his experience, but that doesn’t mean that Cunningham can’t crack the roster as a gadget player. If anything his role would be similar to that of Taysom Hill on the New Orleans Saints — someone who could take the occasional snap at QB while also contributing to the passing and running games.
With the Packers no longer being the once-dominant force that they were, the door is open for Cunningham to capitalize on last week’s momentum. If he plays a relatively error-free game, his 53-man odds will only increase.