EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New England Patriots fans might riot if D.J. Foster doesn’t make the 53-man roster at this point.
Foster did almost everything right in his final audition for a roster spot Thursday in the Patriots’ 17-9 preseason loss to the New York Giants. He picked up 132 yards on 18 touches against the Giants. He finishes the preseason with 12 catches for 143 yards and 11 carries for 31 yards in two games.
He also fumbled Thursday after hauling in a one-handed catch from Tom Brady. It didn’t seem to slow him down, however.
“It was one thing a lot of the coaches said, ‘This is where you can turn it around and keep improving and don’t let it hold you back,'” Foster said Thursday night. “I just tried to turn the page and learn my lesson and stuff. I know I gotta bounce back from that, and it can’t happen.”
The Patriots showed confidence in Foster by keeping him in the game after the mishap.
It would be surprising if Foster was one of the 22 players cut by the Patriots on Saturday at 4 p.m. Dion Lewis, another shifty third-down back, is beginning the season on PUP and isn’t eligible to return until Week 4. Tyler Gaffney, who was Foster’s greatest competition for a roster spot, suffered a foot injury Thursday. James White, the Patriots’ leading candidate to fill Lewis’ role to begin the 2016 season, hasn’t shown a consistent ability to carry the ball. Foster, despite being an undrafted free agent, has more upside.
He was happy with his performance Thursday.
“I felt I got a lot more different looks, a lot of different runs,” Foster said. “I felt very involved in the game and it felt good to be out there, play a full game like that. It’s been a while. I felt very good.”
Foster played running back and wide receiver in college at Arizona State. Based on pre-draft measurables, he’s the Patriots’ most athletic running back. He ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at his pro day with a 6.75-second 3-cone, 4.07-second short shuttle, 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump and 36-inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images
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