The New England Patriots haven’t utilized their fullback as a pass receiver out of the backfield since the days of Kevin Turner, Marc Edwards and Sam Gash. With the tight end position being of concern, the Patriots may have a secret weapon in versatile fullback James Develin. He has definitely caught the attention of Tom Brady. On Wednesday, the future Hall of Fame quarterback praised Develin and wants to involve him more in the passing game.
One of the reasons Brady wants to target him is because of his ability to line up at tight end. He has shown good hands and also displayed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. In the first two preseason games, Develin has caught three passes for 40 yards and one touchdown. Brady believes he is capable of much more.
“I want to get it to him, believe me,” Brady said Wednesday after practice. “I want to throw it and see if he can make the defense pay because that’s what he does such a great job of. You give it to him for a 4-yard gain, and he comes up and, ‘Bam!’ He runs over a safety or a corner. That’s a great spark for our team. I want to give it to him as many times as I can in those situations.”
The compliments Develin is receiving from his star quarterback can only mean good things down the road, especially if he is able to establish himself as a capable and reliable pass receiver both off the line and out of the backfield. His 6-foot-3, 255-pound frame is reminiscent of Mike Alstott, especially after his 1-yard TD run through the Houston Texans defense last season. If he continues to prove, the Patriots would have another weapon and the lack of depth at tight end won’t be such a gapping hole.
He definitely has Brady in his corner. Brady said, “He’s been so dependable for us. I think he’s been so consistent since he’s been here. Once he got his opportunity he really took advantage of it last summer when we put the pads on for the first time, and he really showed us what he’s all about. He continued that that through the whole season, became a really dependable player for us last year, and he’s carried that over into this season.”