3. Ameer Speed
Like Cunningham and Douglas, Ameer Speed’s path to the NFL wasn’t certain at the beginning.
He’s one of the older rookies at 23 and wasn’t selected until the 214th pick of April’s draft — New England’s second-last selection. It also doesn’t help that he only played 16 collegiate games over five seasons before playing a dozen with Michigan State last fall, so there isn’t a ton of tape on him.
However, Speed’s never-say-die attitude played a big role in the success he’s seen thus far and it’s also helped him standout at training camp.
What’s interesting is that the rookie CB isn’t only standing out because of his defensive skills. Instead, he’s been earning attention due to his versatility, proving that he’s more than someone with a badass name.
During the exhibition contest against the Texans, Speed showed that he could do it all, from shadowing tight ends on passing routes to even recording a tackle on a punt return.
While specializing in one area helps a lot of players, versatility is crucial in today’s NFL. Critical injuries can pop up any week, making a Swiss Army knife such as Speed incredibly useful for the grueling 17-game schedule.
Is he ready to be an everyday NFLer? Maybe not, but chances are other teams out there like what they’ve seen from Speed. The Patriots would be taking a huge gamble by putting him on waivers and judging by the rookie’s play thus far, that move would be too risky for me.
Assuming that he gets even more chances to shine Saturday night, Speed will only continue to prove why he’s more than worthy of a roster spot.
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