NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Malcolm Butler was literally taken aback when told that New England Patriots rookie wide receiver Gunner Olszewski is months removed from being a Division-II college cornerback at Bemidji State.
To be entirely transparent, Butler was informed that “No. 9” was a DII cornerback. The Tennessee Titans cornerback only knew Olszewski by his number. But he was impressed by Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, both undrafted rookie wide receivers, during two joint practices with his former team.
“They’re tough, especially that No. 9 and 16,” Butler said. “Those guys are tough. I don’t know their names, but I know their organization. They only want hard-working guys. Guys don’t give poor effort. And the expectation is real high, especially when you’ve got (Tom Brady) back there. I didn’t take any one of them for granted. I gave them everything I had.”
Butler also played cornerback at the Divison II level at West Alabama. Did he see any cornerback in Olszewski during their matchups?
“He shoved me after one play, so I think so,” Butler said laughing.
The Patriots were light at the receiver position by Day 2 of joint practices with the Titans. Maurice Harris and Phillip Dorsett suffered injuries Wednesday, N’Keal Harry came to Tennessee banged up, and Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas and Cameron Meredith remain on reserve lists. That left Meyers, Olszewski, Braxton Berrios, Dontrelle Inman, Damoun Patterson and Ryan Davis to compete against Titans cornerbacks.
Brady still went 10-of-15 in 11-on-11s and 8-of-11 in 7-on-7s.
“Next-man up,” Butler said. “No. 9 is Julian, I guess.”
Hmm. Olszewski, like Edelman, is switching positions out of college, returns punts and kicks and lines up all over the Patriots’ offense. Butler might be on to something.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Wolfstein/USA TODAY Sports Images