It was 2004, and the Patriots signed a gem who would defy all odds and make the 2004 squad. His name was CB Randall Gay out of LSU. Gay would go on that season to be a starter and eventually led the team with 11 tackles in Superbowl 39 victory over the Eagles. This would start a streak of UDFA gems that would make the team that stands at 18 going into this training camp.
Over the 18 years, it produced other key players such as DE Mike Wright, LB Gary Guyton, QB Brian Hoyer, RB Brandon Bolden, CB Malcolm Butler, C David Andrews, CB Jonathan Jones, CB JC Jackson, WR Jakobi Myers, WR Gunner Olszewski, and FB Jakob Johnson. All players who had important roles with the franchise over the years. This article will look at this year’s surprise player for the Patriots who could keep the streak alive.
Who Will Be The Next Patriots Slot Receiving Gem?
The Patriots have had great success at the slot position in the past with wide receiver Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edleman. This year they are continuing to retool the wide receiver position by trading a third-round draft pick for veteran wide receiver DeVante Parker and drafting wide receiver Tyquan Thornton with the 50th pick in April.
Last week, they traded away disappointing first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry to the Bears for a 2024 seven-round pick. However, one of the sneakiest and most intelligent moves is signing UDFA wide receiver/safety Brenden Schooler, from Texas. Schooler began his college career in Oregon before transferring to Texas to finish his college career.
Brenden Schooler Begins His College Career At Oregon
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Brenden began his college career in 2016 at Oregon playing at safety, where he had 74 tackles and four interceptions. However, entering the 2017 season, the coaching staff moved him to the wide receiver position, which proved to be a success as he caught 20 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. Then in 2020, Schooler transferred to the University of Texas, where he played wide receiver his first year with the team.
Schooler got off to a strong start with Texas catching two passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the opener against UTEP and then racking up seven catches for 58 yards and another touchdown against Texas Tech. Then, however, a deep-thigh contusion derailed his season, contributing to Schooler only recording three catches for 17 yards after his quick start the rest of the 2020 season. Last year, Texas moved him back to safety, and he had a total of 50 tackles, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble.
In the past, the Patriots have proved the slot position was a vital part of the organization. However, they also confirmed that a versatile player who played more than one position could make the team. The way Schooler can play both sides of the ball is unique. Given a chance to show in training camp and preseason games, Schooler could prove to be a steal and a genuine diamond to make the 2022 team and keep the streak alive.
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