New England Patriots Cut Wide Receiver Tre Nixon, Practice Squad Future?
FOXBORO — The New England Patriots have parted ways with one of their most highly-touted prospects at wide receiver.
At least, for now.
Wideout Tre Nixon was cut by the Patriots on Tuesday, as the team continued to reduce its roster to the NFL-mandated 53 members by the day’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Having been drafted by the Pats in the seventh-round of the 2021 NFL Draft (242nd overall), Nixon has the distinction of being Ernie Adams’ final draft selection in the Patriots organization.
Though he spent the entirety of his rookie season on the Pats’ practice squad, the 24-year-old rose in prominence throughout the spring by becoming a standout performer at the position during mandatory minicamp. As a result, he also quickly became a favorite target of quarterback Mac Jones, connecting with him on several athletic and aesthetically pleasing catches.
However, as padded practices progressed, Nixon often struggled to break free of defenders. He also was on the unfortunate end of several dropped passes. As such, he saw most of his reps with the scout team.
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While his contributions to the team during preseason games came largely against reserve defenders, Nixon made the most of his time against pro-level competition. Still, miscues and drops at key moments likely gave the Patriots some pause when determining his status for 2022.
Internally, Nixon also faced some stiff competition at the position. With strong performances from fellow wideouts (and roster hopefuls) Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Kristian Wilkerson, Nixon’s versatility and work ethic needed to set him apart. While he was adequate in his efforts, his consistency was not enough to earn him a spot on the team’s initial 53-man roster for 2022.
Despite his release, he continues to project as a vertical deep threat, with the ability to use his speed to shed defenders at the line. Though he has typically lacked some physicality, he has demonstrated the necessary toughness to make catches in tight coverage.
As a result, the Patriots would seemingly be interested in signing him to their practice squad. If Nixon does return to the team in such capacity, the Patriots may have retained the services of an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise — unexpected, that is, to mostly everyone but Ernie Adams.
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