The New England Patriots have 53 players on their active roster and 16 more on their practice squad, but they are still keeping an eye out on potential reinforcements — or at least to update their injury emergency lists. The latest player to pop up on the team’s radar is tight end Dominique Dafney, who is in Foxborough to undergo Covid-19 testing for a potential free agency tryout later during the week (per ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss).
After not hearing his name called the draft back in April, Dafney had to wait almost four months before signing his first NFL contract: the Indianapolis Colts picked him up in late August, but parted ways with him again not even two weeks later as part of roster cutdowns. The 23-year-old has remained on the open market ever since, but is now getting another shot to prove that he has a future in the league.
Before turning pro, Dafney played college football at Indiana State (2019), Iowa (2017-18) and Iowa Western Community College (2016). Listed as a wide receiver but also playing fullback and special teams, he was named second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference after his lone season at Indiana State — one during which he registered 439 rushing yards and 196 receiving as well as a team-high seven total touchdowns.
The Patriots’ current tight end depth consists of third-year man Ryan Izzo as well as third-round rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene: Izzo is the clear top option two weeks into the regular season, having played 133 of a possible 136 offensive snaps so far; Asiasi is the number two behind him; Keene has been inactive twice because of a neck injury. New England also has undrafted rookie Jake Burt available on its practice squad.