Long Shot: Does Pleasant have that special quality to make the roster?

Long Shot: Does Pleasant have that special quality to make the roster?

Each day, after a Patriots training camp practice, we highlighted one intriguing "long shot" to make the roster. What might that player bring to the table for Bill Belichick's team? Who's he competing with for a spot? And what does he have to do to make the team? Today's is the final installment.

FOXBORO -- The code isn't overwhelmingly difficult to crack. We laid it out in our 53-man roster projection from last weekend. If you show up as a potential core special teamer, you've got a shot with Bill Belichick. 

Eddie Pleasant, then, has a shot. Even if you've never heard of him.  

Pleasant, 29, signed with the Patriots just before the start of camp. He played six seasons with the Texans after signing with Houston as an undrafted rookie in 2012. Pleasant, who checks in at 5-foot-10, 201 pounds, has played in 78 regular-season games and recorded 24 special-teams tackles. Five of those special-teams stops came last season. 

The Patriots had a good idea of what they were getting in Pleasant before he signed. They'd seen him five times over the course of his career (including in two playoff games), and they held joint practices with the Texans last summer. 

So far in camp, "he's done well," according to Belichick.

"Eddie's an experienced player that's versatile," Belichick said Tuesday. "He does a lot of things in the kicking game. He's played safety. He's also played some corner or nickel position on defense for the Texans. He's a smart kid. He's been in a similar system. Not quite the same, but similar... 

"He’s an experienced guy and I would say things come pretty quickly to him on the field. The concepts – the terms might have been different – but he's played the concepts that we've taught so he can relate it to something he’s done in the past."

Pleasant has the unfortunate luck of playing a position where the Patriots are relatively set. Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon will get most of the safety reps this season. But, as Belichick noted, perhaps Pleasant's toughness and tackling could get him reps at the "star" (or slot) spot in the secondary. 

His ticket, if he cracks the roster, will be on special teams. He was one of just four players (along with Brandon King, Jordan Richards and Nicholas Grigsby) to be on the top unit for all four core special-teams units: kickoff, kick-return, punt, punt-return. 

Pleasant picked up a holding penalty on a punt return last week against Washington, but if he continues to see significant reps in the kicking game, he could be in line for a gig. 

Would the Patriots keep three safeties whose roles would be almost entirely limited to special teams, holding onto Pleasant, Nate Ebner and Jordan Richards? I think there's a strong chance they would, but perhaps two of those three are in competition. Could Pleasant push someone else, like Brandon Bolden, who plays a different position but whose contributions would come primarily in the kicking game? Quite possibly. 

However the roster shakes out, Pleasant will give himself a chance if Belichick and special teams coach Joe Judge think they can trust him to be a multi-unit contributor in the game's third phase.



Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Scratch that Danny Amendola-Patriots reunion.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports the free-agent wide receiver is re-signing with the Detroit Lions, where he spent last season and had 62 catches for 678 yards. Former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will enter his third season as Lions coach in 2020. 

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The 34-year-old left the Patriots after five seasons to sign with the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and may have burned a bridge or two with Bill Belichick. 

It had been speculated that perhaps bringing in a former reliable Tom Brady receiver might be part of a plan to lure Brady back to New England, with a report in late January that Amendola could come along to wherever Brady lands in free agency, but a Brady-Amendola reunion in Detroit isn't happening, either. 

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.