Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui, and the day before that it was No. 48 Geneo Grissom. Because today marks 46 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 46, fullback James Develin.
After going undrafted out of Brown in 2010, Develin caught on briefly with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of the Arena Football League and then the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League before being signed to the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad. He hung around Cincy until 2012, and then the Patriots picked him up.
What’s cool about Develin is that he’s one of the few old-school fullbacks still in operation. He barely ever touches the ball, but he is valuable as a blocker and special teamer.
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In Week 13 of the 2013 season against the Houston Texans, Develin rushed for his first-ever NFL touchdown. Although he didn’t score in the 2014 regular season, Develin caught a touchdown pass in the AFC Championship Game. He also made a six-yard catch in Super Bowl XLIX.
"I love James and I think he’s the best fullback in the league. He doesn’t get as much credit for it because he doesn’t get as many opportunities, but any time we call on him he delivers.He really, at that position, can bring a significant element of toughness because you’re blocking for the guy with the ball, and he takes a lot of pride in that."
The Patriots’ ground attack has been highlighted as an area of concern by many this offseason after the losses of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, but Develin will act as a snowplow for LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray. Between Develin, Blount and Gray, the Patriots will field one of the most bruising backfields in the league this season.
On Thursday, Develin celebrated his 27th birthday. Check out this photo gallery of Develin put together by the good folks over at Patriots.com.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 49 Joe Cardona, No. 50 Rob Ninkovich, No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower, No. 55 Jonathan Freeny, No. 58 Darius Fleming, No. 59 Chris White, No. 60 David Andrews, No. 61 Marcus Cannon, No. 62 Ryan Wendell, No. 63 Tre’ Jackson, No. 64 Chris Barker and No. 65 Jordan Devey.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 45 days until Week 1 by profiling No. 45, rookie linebacker D.J. Lynch.