Danny Etling never set Tiger Stadium on fire with his legs, but counting out the Patriots' ability to get the most out of a quarterback can be dangerous.
The second-year NFL player drew some attention Thursday morning when he was spotted at Patriots training camp working with the wide receivers.
After he was spotted running routes and catching passes at minicamp last month, Etling said wide receiver wasn't likely in the cards, according to a report from The Athletic. He's also seen work as a punt protector.
Etling is wearing a white jersey. Other QBs are in red— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) July 25, 2019
Etling was spotted at camp this week wearing a white jersey, indicating he was not a member of the quarterback group, who typically wear red, non-contact jerseys for camp practices.
The usage of the former LSU quarterback -- coupled with an 85-yard touchdown run in last year's preseason -- led to mild speculation that Etling could be an option as one of the new NFL's hybrid QB threats.
Here’s Danny Etling working as a receiver pic.twitter.com/qFbfnr9UcA— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) July 25, 2019
Patriots QB Danny Etling doing non-QB things. pic.twitter.com/OpZjpfv0j7— NESN (@NESN) July 25, 2019
WR Danny Etling pic.twitter.com/bOgXYkshwP— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) July 25, 2019
It's a "fever dream," conceded The Athletic's Nick Underhill at the time, but still an interesting scenario.
“I don’t try and envision anything in the future as a part of, you know, if I do this and that,” Etling said in the report. “It’s really just to focus on, OK, I’m learning this today, I want to figure out how to do this the best I can. It’s not something where I’m trying to do something and see something for myself in the future. It’s more so doing whatever I can do to help the team win.”
Taysom Hill has been named the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week.
The obvious comparison, and the most effective attempt at using a quarterback in a nontraditional role, is the Saints' do-it-all QB Taysom Hill. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Hill burst onto the scene in his second NFL season, having a major impact in several games despite attempting just seven passes all season. His presence was felt more on the ground, where he ran the ball 37 times and scored two touchdowns, all while playing a key role on special teams.
Hill was named the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week after a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he logged a momentum-swinging blocked punt in the third quarter.
But for Etling, who logged just 113 rushing yards in two seasons at LSU, the mission will be finding a way to make the Patriots' roster. Ahead of him on the depth chart are future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, longtime backup Brian Hoyer, and rookie Jarrett Stidham, who was taken in the fourth round of this year's NFL draft.
Etling was one of the final cuts for the Patriots before the 2018 season after he was a surprise selection in the 7th round of that year's draft. But as a No. 219 pick, he can compare notes with Brady. The six-time Super Bowl champion was chosen only slightly earlier himself: No. 199 in the 2000 draft.
“It’s a fun learning experience to just be able to play football, and I’m thankful that I’m out there on the field still playing football,” Etling said in the report.
Former LSU quarterback Danny Etling, a seventh-round pick by New England in the 2018 NFL Draft, has signed his four-year contract with the Pat…
Former LSU quarterback Danny Etling rushed for 70 yards total in his four years on the field in college football.
For the full report from The Athletic, click here.