The preseason is an exciting time for New England Patriots fans, but you should proceed with caution.
Year after year, undrafted rookies arrive in Foxboro, Mass., with little-to-no fanfare. Yet, as August marches on, these players start carrying inflated expectations that swap out reason in favor of full-fledged hyperbole.
Sure, wide receiver Austin Carr and tight end Jacob Hollister looked great during the Pats’ preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but is it really fair to expect these guys to become superstars like Malcolm Butler? You don’t have to wind the clocks back too far to realize players like Hollister and Carr don’t have history on their side.
With that in mind, let’s look at some recent undrafted Patriots who remind us to not get too caught up in preseason hype:
Zach Sudfeld, TE
Throughout the 2013 training camp, Sudfeld was a highlight machine, with some people going so far as to label him “baby Gronk.” But the University of Nevada product got on the field in just three regular season games for the Pats and failed to make a lasting impression. The 28-year-old currently is a free agent.
D. J. Foster, RB
There’s still time for Foster to live up to the hype he generated during the 2016 preseason, but things aren’t looking good. Lauded for his impressive quickness and foot speed, Foster appeared in just three games last season, and didn’t do much with his opportunities. He looked decent Thursday night against the Jaguars, but his third-quarter fumble in the red zone likely will keep him at the bottom of the running back depth chart.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR
Thompkins had his moments (see above) in a Patriots uniform, but he certainly didn’t pan out the way many hoped after his impressive 2012 preseason. The Cincinnati Bearcat was released the following season and hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2015.
Chris Harper, WR
Harper will be remembered for one thing as a Patriot: the fumbled punt in Denver. That’s unfortunate because his play throughout the 2015 preseason suggested the University of California product would be the quintessential Patriot. Harper currently is fighting for a roster spot with the New York Jets.
Richard Medlin, RB
Medlin’s NFL career was so uneventful, that finding highlights on YouTube or Twitter is a fool’s errand. That seemed like an unlikely fate during the 2011 preseason, when the running back was a standout performer. Medlin did appear in an NFL game that year, though it was with the Miami Dolphins. He hasn’t been seen since.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images