To mark 14 days until the New England Patriots open the 2016 regular season, we’re going to take a closer look at the owner of the No. 14 jersey, wide receiver Chris Harper.
Size: 5-foot-11, 175 pounds
NFL experience: One season
Signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft, Harper was a major story out of training camp last summer. Although he made the initial 53-man roster, Harper was soon demoted to the practice squad, where he resided until the Patriots called him up following the injury to Julian Edelman. Harper’s jerky status sustained after the Patriots cut him following a muffed punt that eventually cost them the game against the Denver Broncos; by season’s end, Harper had caught one pass for six yards, in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins.
Harper has shown a knack for the amazing catch during his brief stint in the NFL. In fact, he made an absolutely outstanding grab in the second game against the Buffalo Bills last season, only to have it called back due to a penalty. What Harper lacks in bulk (those 175 pounds aren’t going to move many objects in the NFL) he makes up for in speed and big-play ability.
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That being said, by no means does Harper have a roster spot ready and waiting for him on the Patriots’ final 53-man squad. With Edelman, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell occupying the top four spots, Harper is left to duke it out with fellow Pats veterans Aaron Dobson and Keshawn Martin, and that’s assuming he is above DeAndre Carter and Devin Lucien on the depth chart.
Hopefully, the Patriots can find a way to keep Harper around in some capacity even if they are forced to leave him off the final roster. He’s a very talented player with huge upside.
Tomorrow marks 13 days until the Patriots kickoff, so be sure to stop by Musket Fire as we profile the owner of the No. 13 jersey, wide receiver DeAndre Carter.