The New England Patriots have been weirdly quiet during training camp, electing to maintain the bulk of the original roster, instead of churning players on the back end of the depth chart.
The Patriots will have to make further cuts to 53 players by 4 PM EST on Saturday, September 3rd, so there won’t be any team to really take advantage of the players released around the league on August 30th to meet the 75-player requirement.
But if the Patriots were to sniff around on the waiver wire, here are four players that could help the team moving forward.
Titans RB David Cobb (2015 5th round pick, Minnesota)
Cobb never had a chance to make the team after the team acquired DeMarco Murray in the offseason and drafted Derrick Henry in the second round. The Titans have also decided to hold on to 2014 2nd round back Bishop Sankey instead of Cobb. This was a numbers issue.
The 5’11, 230 pound Cobb is a hammer out of the backfield with an explosive 10’1 broad jump. His top level speed is nothing special- he recorded a 4.73 40 yard dash at his pro day- but he is a grinder out of the backfield. He compares to former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley and could have success in the New England backfield.
Vikings ED Theiren Cockran (2016 undrafted rookie, Minnesota)
The Patriots met with the 6’5, 250 pound Cockran during the Minnesota Pro Day and gave him special attention. The Patriots called Cockran after the draft to make him an offer, but Cockran had already accepted an offer from the Vikings because they were the first team to call him.
Cockran is an explosive player with a 10’1 broad jump and 37 inch vertical and was a three-year starter in college; he was also named Minnesota’s defensive lineman of the year in 2015. He is not a player that could contribute in 2016, but he offers a nice frame to possibly groom on the practice squad.
Bills LB Eric Striker (2016 undrafted rookie, Oklahoma)
Striker is not your prototypical linebacker. He’s small, at 5’11, 230 pounds. He’s not fast or quick, with a 4.80 40 yard dash and a 7.30 three cone. But he makes up for that with incredible instincts, that led him to a 2nd team All Conference distinction as a sophomore, and back-to-back 1st team All Conference in his final two years- including 3rd and 2nd team All America in his junior and senior years, respectively.
Striker played alongside Patriots 2015 3rd round pick Geneo Grissom and the two served as movable chess pieces in the Oklahoma defense. Striker was an incredibly adept pass rusher and also felt comfortable dropping into coverage. He seems like he’d be asked to play a similar role as Rob Ninkovich, Shea McClellin, and Barkevious Mingo. Why not give him a practice squad shot?
Bills DT Justin Zimmer (2016 undrafted rookie, Ferris State)
The Patriots have been trying to get more athletic at defensive tackle and they probably won’t be able to do much better than Zimmer. The 6’3, 305 pound Zimmer ran a 4.91 40 yard dash, and his three cone time was an insane 7.09 seconds. His broad jump was an explosive 9’9 and he threw up a whopping 44 reps on the bench.
It’s likely that the Patriots met Zimmer at his pro day and they could give him a test spin on the practice squad to see if he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL.
The Patriots have until 4 PM today to place a waiver claim on these players.