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. 37 Jordan Richards, and the day before that it was No. 38 Brandon Bolden. Because today marks 36 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling the multiple owners of the No. 36 jersey, running back Tyler Gaffney and undrafted rookie safety Brandon King.
Let’s start with Gaffney. After being selected by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Gaffney sustained a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee in training camp last summer. The Panthers then proceeded to part ways with the Stanford product.
Wasting no time were the Patriots, who plucked Gaffney off waivers two days later. In late August, the Pats placed the rookie on injured reserve, and he’s been rehabbing ever since. So Gaffney is essentially a rookie right now as he battles for a spot on the 53-man roster.
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Moving on to King, the Auburn product was signed by the Patriots right after the 2015 NFL Draft concluded.
What’s most interesting about King is his versatility as a defender. Last season, he played both safety and—of all things—defensive end. King was also used as a linebacker, and he has been a dependable special teamer throughout his collegiate career.
It looks like the Patriots are interested in King’s potential to fit in the linebacking corps.
Linebacker may be King’s best route onto the practice squad (the 53-man roster is a bit of a stretch for the rookie, at least it seems that way right now). He’s a bit of an unknown, but as long as King displays that versatility and performs well the rest of the summer, he could be a useful reserve player.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 39 Travaris Cadet, No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch, No. 46 james Develin, No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui, No. 48 Geneo Grissom, 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, and No. 61 Marcus Cannon.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 35 days until Week 1 by profiling the multiple owners of the No. 35 jersey, running back Jonas Gray and undrafted rookie cornerback Jimmy Jean.