Training camp favorite Lil'Jordan Humphrey didn't make the Patriots initial 53-man roster last week, but he'll likely suit up in Sunday's season-opener against the Dolphins anyways.
The Patriots elevated the wide receiver and linebacker Harvey Langi from the practice squad, making both players eligible to play against the Dolphins on Sunday. By rule, Humphrey and Langi will not need to pass through waivers and will revert back to the practice squad after Week 1, while both players have two more standard elevations this season.
Humphrey was a standout during the preseason and provides depth for a Patriots offense that listed wide receivers Jakobi Meyers (knee) and Ty Montgomery (knee) as questionable for the opener in Miami. The team also only has four active wide receivers on the 53-man roster after placing rookie Tyquan Thornton on injured reserve last week.
Furthermore, New England has big shoes to fill on special teams after releasing veteran Pro Bowler Justin Bethel on cutdown day. Along with his skill as a receiver, Humphrey stood out on his 27 special teams snaps during the preseason, with nine snaps at gunner in punt coverage.
Working in tandem with ten-time Pro Bowler Matthew Slater, Bethel was a superb gunner on the punt team in his three seasons with the Patriots. After making a noticeable impact this summer, Humphrey's most likely path onto the field will be in the kicking game this week.
The Patriots likely elevated Langi with special teams in mind as well, as the linebacker appeared on 52.7 percent of New England special teams snaps during the 2021 season and played 27 special teams snaps in the preseason.
New England kicks off the 2022 season against the Miami Dolphins at 1 pm ET on Sunday.