Patriots kick-off 2016 in 86 days: Profiling No. 86 A.J. Derby
Welcome to another installment in Musket Fire’s annual jersey number-dictated New England Patriots kick-off countdown series. For the duration of the summer, we will be profiling the player whose jersey number corresponds with the number of days left until the New England Patriots open the season against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 11. Since today marks 86 days until the Sunday Night Football opener, we are profiling No. 86, tight end A.J. Derby.
Size: 6-foot-5, 255 pounds
2015 stats: None
NFL experience: One season
Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Derby is entering his second summer with the Patriots after being placed on injured reserve just days into training camp last season. Interestingly, Derby has played just one season at tight end having started his college career as a quarterback at Arkansas.
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The season-ending injury to Michael Williams increases Derby’s chances of making the final slightly, as it removes a veteran out of the way between Derby and the No. 3 or No. 4 spot on the depth chart.
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That being said, Derby faces a tough road ahead. Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski are the obvious locks at the position, and veteran addition Clay Harbor is also knocking on the door. And you can’t forget about undrafted rookies Steven Scheu and Bryce Williams, either.
Recent installments in Patriots kick-off countdown profile series:
87 days – No. 87 Rob Gronkowski
In other words, don’t bet a ton of money on Derby making the team. He will be considered a long shot until he show us otherwise in the dog days of summer.
The series takes a break tomorrow because there is no player with the No. 85 jersey, However, feel free to stop by Musket Fire on Sunday morning when we take a look at the owner of the No. 84 jersey, veteran wideout Nate Washington.