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 /

Josh Kline – G – Kent State

Kline is the second Kent State alum to arrive at in New England in relative inconspicuousness but had a better career than anyone could have imagined, (the first being Julian Edelman). Kline saw extended playing time in preseason and only narrowly missed out on making the roster.

He was quickly signed to the practice squad and promoted to the active roster when injury hit the offensive line. Kline’s versatility was always a big plus in his favor. Being competent at almost all positions (except Left-Tackle) he quickly became the swing interior lineman in his rookie season.

He went on to feature in over 12 games each season for the Patriots between 2014-15. In a surprising move he was released just before the 2016 season and was claimed off waivers by the Titans. He had his best season in 2016 being part of a line that was third in rushing yards per game.

Cre’Von LeBlanc – CB – Florida Atlantic

The Patriots are always trying to improve their secondary. It has been a problem position for them for a number of years especially when it comes to the draft. They have swung and missed on a high number of draft picks recently. Names such as Wilhite, Butler (Darius), Dowling and Wheatley have Patriots fans roll their eyes in disappointment.

As a result, there are usually one or more cornerback spots to be won on the roster. In 2016 it came down to Cre’Von LeBlanc and Jonathan Jones for the final spot. LeBlanc appeared to be quite a bit ahead of Jones during preseason and was expected by many to be odds on to be part of the final 53.

His one-handed interception against the Saints had Patriots fans gushing, (Cre’Von goes one-handed). Mike Reiss of ESPN gave a good breakdown on the differences between the two here. It basically came down to Jones having a big edge on Special Teams and LeBlanc only having a small edge on defense. The Bears claimed LeBlanc off waivers where he carved a decent role in their secondary last year.