The New England Patriots are coming freshly off their fourth victory of the season after beating the New York Jets 24-17. As the team starts to shift its focus towards the upcoming Super Bowl rematch against the Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots also take a look around the league to identify players who might at one point potentially help the team.
QB Garrett Grayson
The New Orleans Saints selected Garrett Grayson in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. The Colorado State product spent his entire rookie year on the team's 53-man roster as the number three quarterback. However, he did not see the field and was ultimately released during 2016's roster cutdowns. Grayson was signed to New Orleans' practice squad, where he spent his entire second year in the league. The 6'2, 215 lbs passer was released again this September and has been out of work since.
WR Tim Patrick
Despite leading Utah in receptions, yards and touchdowns in 2016, Tim Patrick went unselected during this year's NFL draft. The 6'5, 210 lbs wideout was picked up by the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent afterwards but waived after only two months with the team. Patrick was claimed by the San Francisco 49ers but lasted only until September's roster cuts.
LB Marcus Rush
Michigan State product Marcus Rush went undrafted in 2015 but was signed by the 49ers shortly after the draft. After spending his entire rookie season and most of his 2016 campaign on the team's practice squad, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed the 6'2, 250 lbs linebacker to their active roster in December 2016. Rush appeared in two games as a special teamer but was waived after this year's draft. The Kansas City Chiefs picked him up and subsequently signed him to their practice squad, off which the 26-year old was released last week.
DE Jhaustin Thomas
Despite being named second-team All-Big 12 in 2016, Iowa State defensive lineman Jhaustin Thomas went undrafted this year. He was not out of work long, though, as he was signed as a free agent by the Indianapolis Colts shortly after the draft. The 6'5, 280 defender failed to make the team, however, and was released during cutdowns. Thomas then joined the Cleveland Browns practice squad but was released a few days later.
WR Deonte Thompson
The most experienced of New England's current workouts, Deonte Thompson has been in the NFL since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012. He spent the first three seasons of his career with the Ravens as a depth wide receiver and kickoff returner. After a short stint with the Buffalo Bills, the 28-year old was signed by the Chicago Bears for whom he appeared in 28 games until being released last week. Overall, Thompson has caught 50 passes in his NFL career for 602 yards and three scores. He also has returned 82 kickoffs for a 24.8 yard average.
Neither of the five players appears to have a realistic shot at a roster spot with the Patriots right now. However, the team could look to add to its practice squad especially after having released quarterback Taylor Heinicke last week. Time will tell whether Grayson will fill this spot – or if the team opts to bring any of the other four players on board.