With roster cutdown day and the subsequent waiver claiming period over, the New England Patriots have started building their initial practice squad for the 2020 season. All of their previously released players made it through the waiver wire unclaimed, which means that the team had free pickings among the 24 total players that were originally let go ahead of Saturday’s cutdown deadline.
The first six of them — five rookies and one second-year player — were quickly retained, according to various reports:
CB Myles Bryant
LB Terez Hall
LB Cassh Maluia
DT Bill Murray
K Justin Rohrwasser
CB D’Angelo Ross
The Patriots bringing back all six of them should not be seen as a surprise considering the current composition of the roster.
Myles Bryant and D’Angelo Ross both had some solid moments during training camp but were buried on the deepest cornerback depth chart in the NFL. The two youngsters — Bryant is in his first year, Ross his second — offer solid developmental upside and emergency depth behind the corners on the 53-man roster.
Terez Hall and Cassh Maluia, meanwhile, bolster what is a rather inexperienced linebacker position. New England kept only third-year man Ja’Whaun Bentley as a true inside linebacker on its 53-man team, as well as move options Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Brandon Copeland (two rookies and a first-year Patriot). Both Hall and Maluia showed some promise this summer.
Bill Murray’s addition to the practice squad speaks not just for his potential as a big-bodied interior defender, but also the Patriots’ defensive tackle depth. The undrafted rookie gives the team another body behind Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler and Byron Cowart — especially in case Beau Allen gets placed on short-term injured reserve after missing virtually all of training camp.
The sixth player listed above is the highest drafted rookie to be released by the Patriots this year: Justin Rohrwasser was picked in the fifth round this year as a potential heir to long-time place kicker Stephen Gostkowski. He had an inconsistent training camp performance, however, and was therefore released on Saturday. Now, Rohrwasser will get another chance to develop on New England’s practice squad — unless the team selects him and not veteran Nick Folk to fill what is currently a vacant spot on the active roster.