The value of James Develin cannot be measured by how many blocks he makes or how many rushing yards he gives the running backs. It can be measured on how he fits into the Patriots offensive scheme, however. Tom Brady has had three main fullbacks in his time in New England: Marc Edwards, Patrick Pass and James Develin. All of them having something in common in that they all had Brady’s trust. It doesn’t matter if they were blocking or running a route, Brady knew where they were going to be at all times. Not many NFL teams use fullbacks anymore like the Patriots do. Many people sleep on his position but it’s extremely important in goal line situations.
James Develin was not supposed to be a productive NFL player coming out of Brown University. For most of his career, he was playing in semi-pro leagues until the Cincinnati Bangles signed him in 2010. They quickly gave up on him a year later and he was again searching for a place to play. Well, Bill Belichick found this diamond in the rough in 2012 and quickly made him into one of the best fullbacks in the NFL. Belichick has gotten the best out of Develin because he knew what he was capable of.
The running back corps’ appreciation of James Develin will not go unnoticed this year. The Pats rushed for a total of 2,522 yards in 2018, after all. Develin contributed himself as he rushed for four touchdowns, production rare in today’s NFL. But down at the goal line, teams need guys that are strong enough to force themselves in. Develin’s value is a crucial part of the Patriots offensive success.
–Robert Marcello is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @RobertMarcello5