The Pats made the difficult cut down to 51 today, leaving two spots open that will be filled in the coming days. The shuffling of players has just begun for the Patriots, and throughout the season you will see many familiar faces come and go. Here are some new young faces that would be intriguing options to bring in to New England for a look see.
DT Chris Jones 6th Rounder(Released by Houston)- Chris Jones was a favorite of mine during the draft process. He is a Joe Vellano player when it comes to hustle, work ethic, and versatility. He can play all over the defensive front, and cause havoc with his pass rushing skills. This past year Jones had 12.5 sacks and 19 TFL's for a stout Bowling Green front, mainly accumulating those stats as a DT.
WR Conner Vernon UDFA (Released by Oakland)- At Duke, Conner Vernon set many records during his tenure. He combines Amendola-like hands and athleticism with Welker-like route running and durability. He is a smart kid that knows how to get open, and would fit in nicely in a young New England receiving corps.
OT Reid Fragel 7th Rounder (Released by Cincinnati)- Ohio States OT actually visited Gillette in the Pre Draft Process, so the Patriots have some prior interest in Fragel. His release was due to injury, but Fragel's upside and athleticism is too much to pass up. If he could be brought in and placed on the IR, that would be best.
OG Eric Herman 7th Rounder (Released by New York G)- I liked Herman as a sleeper for the Patriots late in the 7th round of the draft, and was upset to see him go to New York right before New England picked. He is a tough guard that finishes his blocks, and could be developed into a great player under Dante. He needs work in the passing game, but could be a beast in the running game. All he needs is a little work.
CB Johnny Adams UDFA (Released by Indianapolis) -Small but Tough with a capital T. Welcomes contact, and plays much bigger than his 5'10 frame. He shows pretty good ball skills, and could be a solid special team player and develop into a solid slot corner.
TE Ryan Otten UDFA (Released by Jacksonville) - While i was watching David Fales tape last year, i came away impressed with Ryan Otten. 6'2, 250ish, He is tough, pretty good hands, and rumbles for YAC. He is not a great blocker, but he is willing-which is a start. He is not too fast but after a couple years of development could present an upgrade too Hooman. With only 2 healthy TEs and a fullback on the roster, it would not hurt to bring in a tight end.
CB Terry Hawthorne 5th Rounder (Released by Pittsburgh)- I was a fan on Hawthorne coming out of Illinois, and projected both him and Buchanan to the Pats in my mocks. Hawthorne is not a flashy player, but pretty consistent. He is willing in the run game, physical in man coverage, has decent ball skills. If the Patriots could land this 5th rounder, it would add depth to a position where stability could disappear in an instant.
LB/DE Travis Johnson UDFA (Released by San Francisco)- Wicked production at the college level, like totally insane production, if it means anything. In his last 3 years at San Jose State, Johnson racked up 30 sacks and 46.5 tackles for loss. It is not surprising he was released from San Fran, because of their pass rush depth. But New England could try bringing him in to see what he could add. Would not hurt.