Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

This year’s overhyped Patriots preseason player is…

Ryan Hannable
August 11, 2017 - 11:42 am

FOXBORO — Every year there’s a player or two who makes a few plays in the preseason and everyone raves about them trying to find ways to get them on to the 53-man roster.

Zach Sudfeld, Brian Tyms, Anthony Johnson, the list goes on and on.

Following the Patriots’ 31-24 loss to the Jaguars in the preseason opener Thursday night, it looks like we have the 2017 version: Austin Carr.

The undrafted receiver from Northwestern had a great game finishing with five catches (on seven targets) for 44 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown catch was a thing of beauty as on third-zone from inside the five-yard line Jimmy Garoppolo bought himself some time and found a streaking Carr running across the back end zone line for the score. 

Carr had to leap and then come down with his feet in bounds to secure the catch.

“As I was coming across the end zone, I was trying to make sure that I didn’t get pushed out,” Carr said. “Scramble play. It’s never how you draw it up, but we do that drill every week and Jimmy threw a great ball, and I was able to go up and get it.”

This likely won’t be the only preseason game where Carr makes a few plays, but he’s a huge long-shot to make the roster.

Look at the players ahead of him on the depth chart: Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell. Matthew Slater falls into the receiver category as well, so there’s six locks right there. It's unimaginable for the Patriots to carry seven receivers.

Where does Carr fit in? He doesn’t have much special teams value, so it’s just hard imagining a scenario where he finds himself on the team.

Let’s just pretend he did, where would he fit into the offense? He wouldn’t play over any of the previously mentioned players, so him making the Patriots roster just doesn’t make any sense when he would primarily sit on the bench and take away a roster spot from someone else.

Carr knows it is an uphill battle.

“It’s a matter of learning from them, keeping my head down, and working hard, grinding it out,” Carr said. “I haven’t arrived. There’s no prize I get right now, and we didn’t win. That was the goal: to win. So I need to go back and figure out what I need to do more to help this team win.”

Fortunately for Carr, if he doesn’t make it with the Patriots any of the other 31 NFL teams would have the chance to claim him. By putting solid performances on tape, his chances certainly increase. And if that doesn’t happen, there’s a good chance he could stay with the Patriots on the practice squad.

So while it’s human nature to get excited when big plays are made in the preseason, with Carr don’t get too hyped up. He has little to no shot of making the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

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