The New England Patriots have 25 open roster spots to fill between now and the aftermath of the 2017 NFL Draft, so the team is going to add some talent, whether by draft pick, undrafted rookie, or by veteran. As a result, the Patriots are kicking the tires on some veterans to keep them on their potential shortlist of players to sign over the summer.
ESPN’s Field Yates reports the Patriots have met with former Jacksonville Jaguars LB Dan Skuta.
Source: former Jaguars LB Dan Skuta is visiting the Patriots today. Appeared in 13 games for Jacksonville in 2016.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 26, 2017
Skuta is an 8-year veteran that has played for the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, and most recently the Jaguars. The 31-year-old entered the league as an undrafted prospect from Grand Valley State and has been a versatile player, playing fullback, inside linebacker, and edge defender over the course of his career. He is also a key special teams player.
The 6’3, 250 pound Skuta ran a 4.72s 40 yard dash at his pro day back in 2009 and could be a cheap depth option in the edge defender rotation, behind Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, and Kony Ealy. Skuta would compete with Geneo Grissom and whatever rookies the Patriots bring in at the position for a spot on the team.
Skuta’s play on special teams would increase his value and offer an improvement of special teams depth over the 2016 roster, where edge defenders Flowers, Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Chris Long combined for 74 special teams snaps. Skuta has played 1,134 special teams snaps over the past five years, along with 1,429 defensive snaps.
SB Nation’s Jaguars site BigCatCountry.com said that Skuta, “never really made any memorable plays, good or bad, and was just kind of there.” That’s not a good review for a player the Jaguars paid $4.1 million per year- but if you can get a #4 edge defender that doesn’t make bad plays and helps on special teams, then that’s a pretty good addition.