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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New England Patriots
New England Patriots /

Tyler Gaffney – RB – Stanford

When the Patriots claimed Gaffney from Carolina after he was cut with an injury designation, there were a few eyebrows raised. Had Bill Belichick seen something in Gaffney during the preseason? His final year college numbers were outstanding, (330 rushing attempts, 1709 rushing yards, and 21 rushing touchdowns).

Could Gaffney be the bell-cow for the Patriots when he came back from injury? The next two years with the Patriots were a continuation of his injury problems. He ended up on Injured Reserve on each of his three seasons. By the time he was released in 2016, he was no longer an up and coming player. He was an injury prone 26-year-old running back with little NFL game experience. Gaffney signed for the Jaguars for this coming season but was placed on IR again at the beginning of the month.

Chris Harper WR/KR – California

The California native was undrafted in 2015 but an excellent preseason saw him make the 53-man roster. Fans were excited to see how his return and play-making ability at the receiver position would translate on a week in, week out basis. Unfortunately it never really worked out for Harper once the regular season rolled around. He had only one six-yard catch to his name in 2015 and a lost fumble on a punt against the Broncos, which ultimately cost the team the game and Harper his job with the Patriots.