Devin Lucien

Three former New England Patriots players entering upcoming XFL Draft

Three former New England Patriots players entering upcoming XFL Draft

The XFL will hold its inaugural draft next week as the league looks to fill the rosters of its eight teams. Some of the names on those rosters will ring a bell to NFL fans and more specifically, New England Patriots fans.

Three former Patriots players are included in the XFL draft, which will take place on Oct. 15 and 16. Those players are running back Jonas Gray, wide receiver Devin Lucien, and cornerback Sterling Moore.

Gray, 29, is most remembered for his historic 201-yard, four-touchdown performance vs. the Indianapolis Colts back in 2014. He never was given a chance to repeat that effort, however, as he overslept and was late for practice five days later and released by the team the following September.

Lucien was picked by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft and had multiple stints on the team's practice squad until August 2018, when he was released. The 26-year-old most recently played in the AAF.

Moore played in the NFL for seven seasons, including 2011 and part of 2012 with the Patriots. The 29-year-old racked up six interceptions and six forced fumbles in his career.

Other notable names in the inaugural XFL draft pool are running back Trent Richardson, quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Connor Cook, wide receiver Ryan Broyles, kicker Roberto Aguayo, and defensive tackle Will Sutton.

The XFL will continue adding players to its list until Oct. 11. For the full draft pool, go here.

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After six stops in less than a year, Lucien working hard to stick with Pats

After six stops in less than a year, Lucien working hard to stick with Pats

FOXBORO -- Thursday's preseason opener wasn't a showcase for the Patriots wide receivers by any stretch. There were moments of great competency but, with the velocity-challenged Brian Hoyer taking most of the snaps, it wasn't an aerial circus.

But the wideout who made the most of his opportunities against Washington was Devin Lucien. He had a team-high 71 yards on four catches (six targets).

Another catch came on a little in-cut and required a well-executed hands catch on a ball that was away from his body.

Also impressive was the block he threw on running back Ralph Webb's first touchdown when he got into a Washington defender and walked him through the end zone, sealing the edge for Webb.

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"We were taught to make sure we leave one," Lucien explained, referring to the process of selecting a defender to block and leaving the other for the back to beat 1-on-1. "I ended up getting the linebacker. The linebacker, I tried to push him into the other dude that I was supposed to get and it ended up being a touchdown for Ralph. When you've got people like Julian (Edelman) and them blocking like they do all the time, you just kind of do your best like they do."

It was a helluva block and the kind of play that will earn Lucien notice as much as the pre-halftime catches.

Getting noticed has not been an issue for Lucien since he was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round in 2016. Getting a toehold has been an issue.

After being cut at the end of camp as a rookie, the Patriots were able to re-sign Lucien and have him on the practice squad that year. But an injury at the end of camp last year caused the Patriots to put him on IR. They then released him from IR after an injury settlement. And Lucien went on an odyssey from New England to Indianapolis to Kansas City to Houston to Tampa Bay. He finished 2017 on the Bucs roster but was released in May. The Patriots picked him up again.

He's made six stops in less than a year. He still has no regular-season NFL statistics.

"We're glad to get him back this year," Belichick said after Thursday's game. "He's made some good plays in practice and he made some good plays tonight. He gained some experience in several organizations and I'm sure those places were a good learning experience for him."

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Lucien acknowledged that things went pretty OK against Washington.

"I felt like it was a good way to start," he said. "A good way to start the preseason. I know there is a lot to work on both as a group and individually. I'm just trying to do that and do my best during the preseason and the regular season if I'm blessed enough to be around."

Asked if he'd be able to take a satisfied breath after his performance, Lucien indicated he wouldn't.

"I'm actually going to be looking at the Philadelphia Eagles (the Patriots Game 2 opponent)," he said. "I'll see what I did wrong but after that, I'm working on Philly. You can't wait, especially here. You can't focus on the past at all. It's on to the present and the future."

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Belichick on final cuts: Always hard, but it can't work out for everybody

Belichick on final cuts: Always hard, but it can't work out for everybody

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick feels for players at this time of year because he knows what it's like. He knows what it's like to empty the bucket, give yourself over to a job, and then get fired. 

He also knows he's going to have to be the man who swings the sword, so to speak, when he cuts his roster down to 53 players before this weekend's deadline. It's not something he enjoys. 

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"It’s always hard to have to release players, yeah," Belichick said following Thursday's preseason finale. "Personally, that’s always tough. Guys gave you everything they got and, I mean, we have 90 players and we have to get down to 53, so it will be hard to tell whoever it is – I don’t even know who it’s going to be – but whoever it is, it will be hard to tell some of those players that we won’t be able to keep them.

"We all knew that situation at the beginning. There’s nothing new with that. It’s just hard. Guys put a lot into it and they give it their best and it can’t work out for everybody. But I’ve been on the other side of the table, too."

Despite having one of the most talented rosters in the league, there are a handful of players who represent "bubble" options for the Patriots. The receiver position, in particular, is an interesting one now that the team knows it will be without Julian Edelman for the entirety of the 2017 season. 

Does that mean there's room for an extra receiver to be brought aboard? What about a pass-catching tight end?

We spoke to a few of the standout players from Thursday's game about dealing with their uncertain futures and the pressures of the unknown. 

Devin Lucien, second-year wide receiver, who caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown: "I thought it went OK. It's that time of the season where you start to figure out the reality of the situation. They pushed back the cutdowns so you get kind of lost in everything thinking you're going to be here the whole time, but you really don't know. I just hope I was able to put on a good performance this last game . . . 

"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say it's not on my mind. It's on my mind all the time. But, you know, when you're in practice that's kind of the time to let go of that and just practice. If you think about that while you're on the practice field, you're going to just start messing up. You start messing up, you're really going to be far from staying on the team like this. That's another thing I really wanted to prove. I want to be here. Being on a team for the whole year on a practice squad and then winning the Super Bowl. You see Tom Brady, the GOAT, Julian Edelman make the catch like that. Danny make the touchdown. Malcolm's making catches and all you want to do is you want to be the next one up."

Cody Hollister, undrafted rookie receiver, who caught a nine-yard touchdown pass: "Me and [twin brother Jacob Hollister] have talked about it all the time. Control the controllables, and leave the uncontrollables up to God. I feel like we've done that. Go out there asnd control your attitude and your effort, and then leave the rest up to the Lord. That's what we did today, I feel like. There was mistakes, and there was good plays but we controlled what we could control. We trust in the coaches and their decisions, and we trust God with the stuff we can't control."

Jacob Hollister, undrafted rookie tight end, who caught four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown: "It's unbelievable [going through the process with Cody]. Just being able to lean on each other is just crazy. Having your best friend out here, it's such a blessing. It's been an awesome few months being here together. It's just crazy how it worked out."

Austin Carr, undrafted rookie receiver, who caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown: "Emotional. No matter what, there’s going to be highs and lows. It almost feels like draft day all over again where you don’t know where you’re going to end up. Again, I’m praying and trusting God. I know that I left it all out there and I’m hoping for another shot."

When the scrum of reporters around Carr began to dissipate following his question-and-answer period, he said, "Hope to stick around."