FOXBORO, Mass. — If you exclude special teamer Matthew Slater, the New England Patriots’ longest-tenured wide receiver is Julian Edelman, who’s long been one of Tom Brady favorite targets.
After Edelman on that list is Phillip Dorsett, who’s entering his third season in New England.
After Dorsett? A player who’s yet to appear in a single regular-season NFL game.
That would be Braxton Berrios, the second-year Miami product who spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve. And because of his status as a de facto veteran, Berrios has been tasked with helping mentor many of the same young players with whom he’s currently battling for a roster spot.
“Even a guy like Braxton — didn’t play last year but was in our system, was working out,” safety Devin McCourty said after Monday’s practice. “It doesn’t take long for people to start viewing you as, ‘Hey man, you’re kind of a veteran. We need you to pull some of the young guys along.’ And I think he’s done a great job of that.”
The Patriots’ receiving corps underwent a drastic overhaul this past offseason. N’Keal Harry, Maurice Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Dontrelle Inman, Ryan Davis, Gunner Olszewski, Demaryius Thomas and Cameron Meredith all joined the team within the past six months.
Harry, Meyers, Davis and Olszewski are rookies. Thomas, Meredith and Edelman have yet to practice this summer.
Berrios is coming off a string of strong performances in Detroit. The 2018 sixth-round draft pick stood out positively in joint practices with the Lions, then caught three passes on three targets for 45 yards in New England’s preseason opener last Thursday.
“For one, just coming out here with that work ethic each day,” McCourty said. “For him, that started last year. All of the guys that were here, we saw them in there working out, getting better and I think he’s just doing a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities.”
Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images