New England Patriots: Looking back at recent preseason standouts

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcolm Butler /
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HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Bruce Ellington
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 19: Bruce Ellington /

Malcolm Butler – CB – West Alabama

Early on in 2014, the former try-out was impressing in camp. Patriots Football Weekly experts Andy Hart and Paul Perillo had him earmarked to potentially make the roster having impressed throughout training camp. He subsequently made the roster, and despite being inactive some weeks, he saw some game time in his rookie season. Butler will be forever immortalized by his actions in Super Bowl XLIX.

His interception in the closing seconds of Russell Wilson was the defining point of the game and one of the defining all-time Super Bowl moments (Watch here). He has since become a top NFL cornerback and will most likely earn a huge payday at the end of this season when he becomes a free agent. A payday no Patriots fan can ever deny him.

Jeff Demps – RB/KR – Florida

Demps was probably the fastest man to ever play for the Patriots. A star college track athlete who would later represent the USA in 2012 Olympics in the Men’s 4x100m relay, Demps’ career in New England was short lived. He was put on injured reserve in his rookie season and ended up being part of the trade that would bring LeGarrette Blount to the Patriots.

While Demps’ athletic career got a lot of hype, he was far from a track athlete that wanted to play football. At Florida he had strong numbers averaging 6.8 yards per carry in his four seasons. His pure athleticism excited everybody and fans were intrigued to see what he could do with the ball in his hands. Demps’ career is proof of how important football intelligence is in the modern day NFL and how being ‘just an athlete’ is not enough anymore. He is now a speed and agility coach.