The New England Patriots open the 2016 regular season in 35 days, so we’re profiling the owner of the No. 35 jersey, undrafted rookie cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc.
Size: 5-foot-11, 190 pounds
College: Florida Atlantic
Signed by the Patriots after the 2016 NFL Draft along with fellow undrafted corners Jonathan Jones and V’Angelo Bentley, LeBlanc is in the thick of an intense competition at cornerback. LeBlanc certainly has an uphill battle to even make the practice squad with Justin Coleman, E.J. Biggers and Darryl Roberts also competing for the precious few spots behind Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Cyrus Jones.
So what does LeBlanc have to offer? He was a four-year contributor in Florida Atlantic’s secondary, registering 180 tackles, 23 passes defended and six interceptions. LeBlanc also completed work as a punt and kick returner during his college career. An outstanding senior season of 43 tackles and four picks boosted LeBlanc’s pro chances, and that is why he is in trying out with the Patriots in the dog days of summer.
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LeBlanc is effective as a run defender because he is stockily built. That strength translates over into his coverage, where LeBlanc utilizes his hands to pester receivers (he also earned quite a reputation for big hits incollege). What could hurt LeBlanc in the pros, however, is his lack of exceptional speed, length and size. He is too small to play outside corner against tall wideouts and not speedy enough to recover when beaten. Unfortunately for LeBlanc, the Patriots have shortage of slot corner hopefuls (both Joneses, Biggers, Coleman).
In other words, don’t bet your mortgage on LeBlanc becoming the 2016 version of Butler.
For more reading on LeBlanc, be sure to check out this long form piece by Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. It will give you the entire story about Leblanc overcoming some serious adversity and rising through football.
Tomorrow marks 34 days until the Patriots open 2016, so be sure to stop by Musket Fire as we profile the owner of the No. 34 jersey, running back Donald Brown.