NFL Undrafted Free Agents: Patriots Reportedly Sign LB Tarpinian and G Berry

Reports of the Patriots agreeing to terms with undrafted free agents have continued to roll in.  While we are reporting everything we hear, it is important to realize that the craze of undrafted free agency undoubtedly allows for a few mistakes.  Generally, we wait until multiple outlets have reported a signing.

In the case of Auburn lineman Mike Berry, it was his brother that originally reported the signing via Twitter.  Berry is a 6'3", 318 pound interior lineman who played mostly guard at Iowa, but could also play center.  While he has been effective at times pulling, athleticism isn't his strength.  He has a solid frame and is a strong mauler.  He needs some improvement in his technique, but is a hard worker.  With the questions the Patriots have along the interior line, he could definitely be a practice squad candidate.(Update: As I was publishing this post, I noticed that Berry's brother deleted the tweet that had him going to the Pats.  We'll see where this goes.)(Update 2: Berry has confirmed that he's headed to New England via Twitter).

The reported signing of linebacker Jeff Tarpinian is definitely an interesting one.  At 6'2", 235, he is a little bit undersized compared to the typical 3-4 inside linebacker for the Patriots.  However, he has tremendous athleticism, and is stronger than you'd give him credit for (and is willing to take on blocks).  He is also effective in coverage.  At his Pro Day, he ran a 4.56 second 40 yard dash, 4.1 second shuttle, and a 6.78 second time in the three cone drill.  The main concern surrounding Tarpinian is his health: he had a really hard time staying on the field for the Hawkeyes.  However, when healthy, he really produced.  I see the signing as a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.  Tarpinian, with his athleticism and skillset, could develop into an excellent special teams player with the Patriots, possibly replacing a player such as Tracy White.  The Tarpinian deal has yet to be confirmed.

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