Patriots Stashed Hard-Hitting Rookie Safety On IR

The New England Patriots are all-in when it comes to making changes, and it looks like they have a nice safety to use.

Malik Gant didn’t really have a chance to make the Patriots’ roster as an undrafted rookie. His odds have sort of improved as he enters his second season with the team. New England was stacked at safety in 2019 with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Terrence Brooks and Nate Ebner on the unit. McCourty and Ebner are about to hit the open market now. If one of them leaves the team, it could free up a spot for Gant. The player spent the 2019 season on injured reserve due to an undisclosed ailment. Gant played sparingly in the 2019 preseason until their fourth and final game when he was active for 53 snaps.

He allowed just two grabs on five targets for 43 yards with a score and pass breakup in the preseason. At Marshall, Gant was known as a hard hitter. He had really great grades in Pro Football Focus’ draft guide. Moreover, PFF considers Gant their top best box safety. He leads this position in defensive stops.

The Patriots have a talented safety

As a junior in 2018. Gant allowed 18 catches on 34 targets for 206 yards with one score and two interceptions in coverage. He left college for the draft a season early. Gant went undrafted before inking a deal with New England as a free agent. The predraft process didn’t work really well for him. He ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash with a 4.3-second short shuttle, 7.45-second 3-cone drill, 34.5-inch vertical leap, and 9-foot, 6-inch broad jump at 6-feet, 209 pounds.

The Patriots can use him as a hybrid linebacker/safety if he can add more strength and not lose speed or quickness. New England has Gant, Chung, Harmon, and Brooks on their 90-man roster. Cornerbacks Jonathan Jones and Jason McCourty can play safety, too. Gant will have to try really hard on special teams to hit the 53-man roster this summer. He has to take care of the training camp and preseason. Gant is a player with great skills. This summer is really important to him.  

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