Why ESPN analysts believe QB Malik Cunningham could stick for Patriots
New England Patriots undrafted rookie quarterback Malik Cunningham isn’t just a camp body with long-shot odds of making the 2023 team.
There’s a real path for the former Louisville dual-threat signal caller to potentially stick around in New England.
ESPN analysts Mike Reiss and Jordan Reid spoke about the dynamic elements of Cunningham’s game that make him such an intriguing option for a Patriots team that has typically leaned on more traditional quarterback play.
Cunningham’s playing style is different from what’s currently on the Patriots’ roster (Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe). He’s a dynamic threat as both a passer and a runner, and I see some similarities to Tyler Huntley, who has carved out a reliable backup role with the Ravens.
The Patriots currently have Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe and Trace McSorley as the other three quarterbacks on their roster.
They obviously aren’t carrying four quarterbacks. So the competition could come down between Cunningham and McSorley for that third role on the team. That’s a competition that should favor Cunningham greatly considering his ability to contribute as a quarterback and in gadget-type situations.
Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien could get really creative with a playmaker like that on the field.
When playing in 13 games in 2021, Cunningham threw for 2,941 yards and 19 touchdowns, along with rushing for 1,031 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was one of the most electric players in the country with the ball in his hands.
Cunningham’s potential as a dual-threat/gadget-type option might be his best chance to land on the roster, which would help him separate from recently signed McSorley. The Patriots have been keeping three QBs on the roster in recent seasons, so there’s a clear path for Cunningham to stick.
The Patriots are sure to keep their best stuff under the hood, but it’ll be fun seeing how Cunningham is utilized on the field offensively. A little patience and polish could go a long way for New England with this prospect.
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