Patriots: Ex-Phillies slugger earns unexpected tryout at camp

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: Dylan Cozens #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: Dylan Cozens #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

When the New England Patriots were trying to figure out who would end up populating the back end of their roster, few imagined that Dylan Cozens would’ve been on their shortlist.

In fact, he wasn’t even a football player when 2020 ended, as he was a former top prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

Cozens’ 6-6, 245-pound frame could’ve made him an ideal left-handed slugger that launches 35 home runs every year, but he never quite got into a groove with Philly.

Not wishing to give up on his athletic dreams, Cozens announced his intention to make a go of it in the NFL.

Most of the success stories that we’ve seen with regard to players ditching other sports for football involve basketball players making the jump after being declared too short to make it in the NBA. Cozens will try to pull a reverse Brian Jordan, though, and leave his baseball career in the past for a spot in the NFL.

The Patriots brought in the 27-year-old Cozens for a workout as a tight end. While nothing is finalized with regards to his ability to stick on this roster, Cozens was grateful for the opportunity, saying that he “really appreciates” what New England has done for him.

Will Dylan Cozens make the Patriots?

Cozens was a state champion performer as a defensive end in high school, but he chose to focus on baseball full-time. While it netted him a well-deserved chance to make it in the major leagues, it appears he’s hit his ceiling as a baseball player.

The prospect of his power didn’t woo teams that had some reservations about a .154 batting average in his limited at-bats. After failed stints with Tampa Bay and Milwaukee in their minor-league system, Cozens hung it up and decided that he has the body and determination to latch on in the NFL.

If there is a position where Cozens could latch on with New England, it’s tight end. Hunter Henry is banged up right now, Devin Asiasi isn’t the second coming of Ben Coates, and Dalton Keene is already out for the year. We’ve seen more unlikely paths to the NFL, and at least Cozens has the athletic ability checked.

Players like Antonio Gates back in the day and Mo-Alie Cox today prove that basketball players can make the transition to the NFL. Jordan Mailata was a rugby player, and kicker Josh Lambo used to be a goalie for MLS club FC Dallas. Cozens ending up on a practice squad would by no means be a surprising development.