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. A few days ago we looked at No. 21 Malcolm Butler, and the day before that it was No. 22 Robert McClain. Because today marks 19 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 19, wide receiver Brandon LaFell.
Selected by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, LaFell has missed only four games in five NFL seasons. Over that span, he has accumulated 241 receptions, 3,338 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The LSU product spent his first four seasons wearing Carolina blue before heading up north to play for the Patriots last year. With the Panthers, LaFell quietly went about his business, steadily improving each season and increasing his stock as a free agent wide receiver.
When given the opportunity to take his career to the next level in New England, LaFell didn’t think twice. He was part of the Panthers’ Great Wide Receiver Exodus of 2014 because catching passes from Tom Brady was too enticing for him to pass-up.
In his debut season for the Pats, LaFell did not disappoint. He racked up 953 yards and seven touchdowns on 74 receptions in the regular season, all of which were career highs. He proved to be a valuable asset in the aerial attack; LaFell would make defenses pay for keying-in too much on Rob Gronkowski and/or Julian Edelman.
In the playoffs, LaFell was even more valuable. He caught the winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in that classic Divisional Round game, and then he snagged the opening touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX.
The No. 2 spot on the depth chart is LaFell’s entirely. And word out of Foxboro indicates that he is on the mend from a foot injury that put LaFell in a walking boot this offseason, which he was seen wearing at the ring ceremony.
LaFell’s statistical goals for 2015 look something like this: 80 catches, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 23 Patrick Chung, No. 24 Bradley Fletcher, No. 25 Daxton Swanson, No. 26 Logan Ryan, No. 27 Tavon Wilson, No. 28 James White, No. 29 LeGarrette Blount, No. 30 Duron Harmon, No. 31 Tarell Brown, No. 32 Devin McCourty, No. 33 Dion Lewis, No. 35 Jonas Gray, No. 36 Tyler Gaffney, No. 37 Jordan Richards, No. 38 Brandon Bolden, 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 and No. 46 james Develin.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 18 days until Week 1 by profiling the owner of the No. 18 jersey, wide receiver and special teams ace Matthew Slater.