This is the epic conclusion to the rookie jersey number prognostication. If you missed the first part you can find it here: http://bostonsportsextra.com/new-england-patriots/2018/08/rookie-number-prognostication-part-1
Picking a jersey number is a very important decision in a rookies’ young career. It can mean the difference between Hall of Fame worthy statistics and retiring after only a few years. Below are the Rookie numbers that the latter half of the New England Patriots’ 2018 rookie class chose and how the previous wearer’s career unfolded. Based on the history of the number you can easily see how this will go. So read on and you can forget about any other analysis!
Keion Crossen — No. 35
This number is a veritable who’s who of one hit wonders on the Patriots with a single exception. “Big Jim” Nance wore this number proudly as a hard hitting fullback in the 60’s. Since then it has been filled with running backs that can now be served as answers to trivia questions. Tyler Gaffney, Jonas Gray, Patrick Pass, and Mike Gillislee all wore this number. Even a special teams safety by the name of Ross Ventrone wore it.
Greatness Verdict: He’s got a shot. Given the age and different position of the last great player who wore this number it’s ready for a hero. Crossen could be the guy that ushers in a new age for the No. 34.
Duke Dawson — No. 42
Can former players’ personalities and attributes live on in their numbers? I think so. Ronnie Lippett, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mack Herron, and Don Webb. Each wore this number and I’m pretty sure that they are all in the Pat’s dictionary under the word “Grit.” Whether its picking off Dan Marino, being an undersized returner scoring touchdowns or having a cool nickname like “Law Firm.” This number has some star power.
Greatness Verdict: Not Great but close. There is no way that he can’t be a gritty, hard-nosed slot DB while wearing this number. I’m pretty sure he was born holding a lunch pail. I can’t wait for him to grab a roster spot with both hands and keep it for the better part of a decade.
Christian Sam — No. 44
If you’re number 44 for the Patriots you’ve got to have a fantastic name, or at the very least a good name. John Outlaw might be the best name for a DB to have hands down. He would’ve rivaled Deion Sanders had he played in a different day and age. It’s a shame he played his best football as a member of the Eagles starting in ‘73. And there are a load of other good names; White Graves, James Idhegibo, Asante Cleveland, The Don Calhoun and even a Heath Evans. I’m not sure if Christian Sam is going to cut it.
Greatness Verdict: Our second “Not wearing this number.” I like his future but clearly the stars are against him on this one. Not only does the number not have a personality identity, but it also needs a good name for it. Switch it quick!
Ja’Whaun Bentley — No. 51
This number is fascinating. A mix of the pious and the illegal. Don Davis the current New England Patriots chaplain vs. Eugene Lockhart who served 3 years for federal fraud charges. Off the field “star” power and on the field star power. Bob Golic of Saved by the Bell: the College years and a member of the ESPN Golics, and Jerod Mayo, a stalwart captain of the defense for the Patriots.
Greatness Verdict: Slam Dunk! Getting Mayo’s old number will serve this young star well. This number will only help him prove he is more Mayo than Spikes as a linebacker.
Isaiah Wynn — No. 76
Not good. Again a personality trait keeps coming up and it screams underrated. Sebastian Vollmer and Brian Holloway are perfect examples of this. You have one bonafide star in Charley Long playing in a long ago age and plenty of workhorse players; Brandon Gorin, William Roberts, Dave Rowe. Its going to be tough to break that mold and remake the number in today’s age.
Greatness Verdict: 50/50 chance. If Wynn returns from his injury healthy and wins a tackle spot he has a chance to make a name for himself. I’m rooting for the kid and would rather see him live up to his 1st round status and outshine the other big men who wore this number.
Ryan Izzo — No. 85
Not only does this number have a Hall of Fame inductee, it also has a member of the 1985 Super Bowl team. But do to unfortunate events it will forever be known as the number held by one of the most infamous ex-players in the history of the league: Aaron Hernandez. Can Ryan Izzo overcome the checkered past of this number and make it his own?
Greatness Verdict: I just can’t see this happening. He’s got to overcome the stain that the former tight end has casted on this number. If Izzo was a linebacker or lineman I would say that he has a shot.
Thank you for reading and I hoped you enjoyed my humorous take on the numbers that the rookies chose as well as learned a little about the history of some Patriots that have worn them.
All photos courtesy of Getty images unless noted otherwise.
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