Special teamer Brandon King is one of the wearers of the No. 36 jersey, so we are talking about him to mark 36 days until the New England Patriots open the 2016 season. Tyler Gaffney also wears the No. 36.
Size: 6-foot-2, 214 pounds
NFL experience: One season
2015 stats: 12 tackles, forced fumble
Signed by the Patriots as an undrafted rookie last offseason, King was a standout in training camp and last all the way until the final round of cuts. However, King was signed to the practice squad after getting the chop, and was eventually activated to the game day roster when Bradley Fletcher was released. Sure enough, King proved to be MUCH more valuable than Fletcher.
King’s 12 special teams tackles lagged behind only Matthew Slater’s 17. This writer noted that King is being groomed into his generation’s Slater as evidenced by his burgeoning special teams role. Here’s what Slater had to say last year about his heir:
The way he approaches his craft has been very rare for a young player. I can’t say enough good things about Brandon. Brandon has done a tremendous job of just buying in to what the coaches have asked him to do. He doesn’t say a whole lot, he just works hard. He’s really been a big weapon for us.
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A quiet, humble hard worker. A physical, fast gunner on punts. A versatile, smart defensive player… you can’t say enough good things about King. There are a slew of roster hopefuls trying out at special teams, and while King must go about his business and continue to prove his worth, his spot on the final roster is relatively safe compared to most Patriots players who don’t play regularly on settled offense or defense.
King is playing with former Auburn teammate Jonathan Jones this summer, another undrafted product. Might Jones claw his way onto the active roster, emulating his old Auburn pal King? Early indications are that Jones is tracking upward and this could be the case. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow marks 35 days until the Patriots open 2016, so be sure to stop by Musket Fire as we profile the owner of the No. 35 jersey, undrafted rookie cornerback Cre’von Leblanc.