New England Patriots fullback James Develin is establishing himself as an important player in the Patriots offense because of his versatility. His ability to play both fullback and tight end has the Brown University alum on the inside track to make the team. It is also an aspect of his game that has drawn praise from Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. On Sunday, Caserio applauded Develin’s work ethic and his ability to play two separate positions.
The second-year fullback may make the team as the third tight end. His ability to line up in the backfield and block as well as his ability to play at the tight end position as both a blocker and someone who can catch the ball has heightened his value with the team. It is also his work ethic that has gained him major points with the organization.
Caserio told reporters, “James is very smart, works very, very hard. He had a great offseason. As a player, from Day 1 that he entered the program to where he is now, he’s really improved. He’s put in a lot of time. It’s a credit to him. He’s smart and versatile, so he gives you a little bit of flexibility because he can do a number of different things – he can block with force in the running game, he can put his hand down on the line of scrimmage and block with force on the line of scrimmage. He’s earned all his opportunities with his performance and his work ethic.”
Patriots’ fans really got a glimpse of Develin’s force during a game against the Houston Texans. The full back powered his way into the end zone, breaking many tackles on an impressive one-yard run. He also showed what he is capable of as a receiving tight end, catching a 31-yard pass in a game against the Cleveland Browns. Although Develin seems to have found a home in New England, he still recognizes that he has to continue to work hard because nothing is guaranteed.
After college, Develin played with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League and then made the practice squad with the Bengals before being signed and released twice by the Patriots. His path has been trying, but it has also made him recognize and appreciate the results of hard work, which is a reason he refuses to get comfortable.
“It’s never good to be comfortable in football,” Develin said. “You’re always trying to learn. You’re always just trying to get better each and every day, work hard, work on your weaknesses, work on your strengths. Comfort is not something I ever try to think about. I’m just trying to always learn, get better, add some more value to my game and just become the best player and help this team.”