The New England Patriots officially announced the addition of defensive lineman Alan Branch today, and subsequently announced that they had released rookie linebacker Deontae Skinner.
The release of Skinner comes as a mild surprise. The 6'2" 250 lbs Mississippi State prodct had made a strong impression after being promoted from the practice squad on September 13th. He had the ability to play on special teams and contribute as a run stuffer in base packages. His deficencies in pass coverage were glaring, although he did look mildly improved in that area the last two weeks.
When the Patriots acquired Jonathan Casillas yesterday, the team obviously felt that made Skinner expendable. Should he clear waivers, the Patriots will more than likely bring Skinner back to the practice squad.
In seven games this season (one start), Skinner had 16 tackles (6 solo) as well as one sack in a divisional game against the Buffalo Bills.