Devey hoping to go from practice squad to 53-man

Devey hoping to go from practice squad to 53-man
August 22, 2014, 10:45 am
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FOXBORO -- Jordan Devey knows that there is hope for an offensive lineman who has spent time on the practice squad in New England.

Players like Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Josh Kline -- as well as former linemen like Stephen Neal -- have all gone from borderline pros to valued members of the Patriots 53-man roster under Bill Belichick and his staff.

Devey is looking to be next on the list after spending the 2013 season as a practice-only player. During training camp, he's seen time at every offensive line position except for center, and he's the only player in the league to play all of his team's snaps through two preseason games.

With a year in the organization under his belt and a full offseason in which he was able to strengthen his base, he's getting the opportunity to make a case that he belongs.

“It was incredible,”€ Devey said of his time on the practice squad. “€œWe have a lot of great guys on the o-line with a lot of experience. I knew as a practice squad guy, first off to help the defensive guys get better, but also learn from the vets, guys like Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell. All those guys at one point or another have been in my shoes and I learned from them and how to get better from it.”

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound 26-year-old may not be a lock for the Patriots roster -- he still has practice squad eligibility and could end up there once again if he clears waivers -- but he's getting a good long look. If he can contribute, odds are the Patriots staff will have a very good idea before the final cut-down day.

"He’s really played all positions along the line at some point in camp, but more at guard than tackle," Belichick said this week. "I think he’s improved a lot from last year. He’s had a good offseason. He’s worked really hard. He’s a smart guy. His fundamentals have improved. His strength is better. His offseason program was very productive. Harold Nash and Moses [Cabrera] and their program, he really was able to take advantage of that and put himself in a very competitive position. 

"He got a lot of snaps last [Friday]. We tried to give everybody a good look. Fortunately we had, I think it was over 90 plays or whatever it was – we had a lot of them, plus all the practices. We tried to give all these guys on the offensive line a good look. I think it’s a real competitive group. They all work hard. They all have shown up well from time to time. We’ll probably have some tough decisions there."

Devey's had a unique road to get to this point where he's being considered for an NFL job. 

Coming out of high school in Utah, he turned down multiple college music scholarship offers to play tuba in order to serve a two-year Mormon mission in Costa Rica. Before that he held a job working security for a computer company, working 12-hour days as he checked diesel rigs bringing in shipments.

He started his college career at Snow College before transferring to Memphis, where he started all 24 games in his two-year career. He's long been a versatile lineman, playing both guard and tackle for the Tigers and he was named team MVP as a senior.

After a long road full of varied life experiences and a year of apprenticeship on the practice squad, he feels as though he's good place to compete for a gig. But he also understands that he still has a lot to learn before joining that list of practice squad players who have turned into starters.

“It’€™s camp," he said. "We’€™re all fighting for a position and we’€™re all trying to do our job to our best and that is what I am trying to do. Get better every day."