The New England Patriots very pretty busy on Saturday: not only did they end up adding five players to their roster via the final four rounds of the NFL draft, they also were quite active in the subsequent free agency period. As things stand right now, New England has reportedly brought in 12 players so far, that did not hear their names called in one of the draft’s seven rounds.
While the list is still subject to change until players actually sign their free agency contracts with the organization, it appears as if the following men will eventually find their way to New England when all is said and done:
WR Will Hastings, Auburn
TE Rashod Berry, Ohio State
WR Isaiah Zuber, Mississippi State
QB J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
CB Myles Bryant, Washington
DT Bill Murray, William & Mary
LB De’Jon Harris, Arkansas
WR Sean Riley, Syracuse
RB J.J. Taylor, Arizona
LB Kyahva Tezino, San Diego State
DE Nick Coe, Auburn
DT Courtney Wallace Jr, Louisiana Tech
New England headed into the NFL’s undrafted free agency window with 13 open spots on its 90-man offseason roster, and all but one of them have already been filled if the reports of the signings turn out to be accurate. The two most targeted positions group one day into the free agency period is wide receiver: after not picking up a wideout during the draft — despite the class being one of the deepest in recent memory — the Patriots signed three players at the position.
Given the Patriots’ current roster composition, it looks as if the three wide receivers or the additions at tight end or the defensive edge will have solid chances of making New England’s 53-man team — and of keeping the 16-year long streak of at least one unselected player being on the team on opening day alive. Ultimately, however, it would still not be a surprise if none of them or the other undrafted rookies found a way onto the Patriots’ squad given the overall depth of the roster at most positions.
“We talked to a lot of players after the draft,” Bill Belichick said on a media conference call on Saturday. “I wouldn’t confirm anybody until we actually have a signed contract. We’ve had plenty of cases where we thought we had an agreement with the player and it didn’t happen, and in some cases something’s happened where maybe we weren’t able to keep an agreement with a player due to physical or some other contractual issue that might pop up. We’ll announce them once we verify them and they’re done.”
Belichick’s answer came in response to a question about one particular player listed above: Louisiana Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith, who the Patriots’ head coach confirmed had contact with the club. Upon officially joining the team’s roster, Smith will become the third quarterback behind presumed starter Jarrett Stidham and veteran backup Brian Hoyer. New England, of course, opted not to add another passer during the draft.
For more on the Patriots’ undrafted rookie class, please refer to our Patriots UDFA tracker.