The number of New England Patriots representatives in attendance for the Reese’s Senior Bowl has varied from one January to another, but the week-long showcase in Mobile, Ala., has long had the organization’s attention.
The numbers in the NFL draft reflect it.
New England’s war room selected 41 Senior Bowl participants from 2010 through 2020. According to the all-star game’s all-time roster, an additional 11 participants over that span signed their first contracts with the Patriots as undrafted free agents.
“At the Senior Bowl, you have NFL coaches, you have NFL-type coverages, NFL-type passing game, both in practice and in the game,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in December. “So, you get to see two different looks at it. You get to see the practice look where players are practicing against the NFL team that is coaching them, and then in the game you get to see them play against another NFL style of play, but different from that other coaching staff.”
Be it a Division II safety from the South Atlantic Conference or a four-star linebacker from the Southeastern Conference, all are on the same playing field. And to carry over what’s seen at rookie minicamps more so than pro days.
As for New England’s homegrown history, here’s look through the past Senior Bowlers as future ones near Hancock Whitney Stadium.
- Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne – second round
- Josh Uche, LB, Michigan – second round
- Anfernee Jennings, LB, Alabama – third round
- Justin Herron, OT, Wake Forest – sixth round
- Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn – fourth round
- Byron Cowart, DT, Maryland – fifth round
- Jake Bailey, P, Stanford – fifth round
- Jakobi Meyers, WR, North Carolina State – undrafted class
- Isaiah Wynn, OT, Georgia – first round
- Duke Dawson, CB, Florida – second round
- Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue – fifth round
- Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami – sixth round
- Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State – third round
- Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy – third round
- Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA – sixth round
- Keionta Davis, DE, Chattanooga – undrafted class
- Damarius Travis, S, Minnesota – undrafted class
- Dwayne Thomas, S, LSU – undrafted class
- Harvey Langi, LB, Brigham Young – undrafted class
- Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama – second round
- Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State – third round
- Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia – fourth round
- D.J. Foster, RB, Arizona State – undrafted class
- Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn – undrafted class
- Bryce Williams, TE, East Carolina – undrafted class
- Geneo Grissom, DE, Oklahoma – third round
- Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas – fourth round
- Tre’ Jackson, G, Florida State – fourth round
- Shaq Mason, G, Georgia Tech – fourth round
- Joe Cardona, LS, Navy – fifth round
- Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois – second round
- Bryan Stork, C, Florida State – fourth round
- James White, RB, Wisconsin – fourth round
- Jon Halapio, G, Florida – sixth round
- Jemea Thomas, CB, Georgia Tech – sixth round
- Tyler Ott, LS, Harvard – undrafted class
- Jamie Collins, LB, Southern Mississippi – second round
- Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall – second round
- Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois – seventh round
- Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers – seventh round
- Cory Grissom, DT, South Florida – undrafted class
- Ryan Allen, P, Louisiana Tech – undrafted class
- Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas – third round
- Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska – seventh round
- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado – first round
- Lee Smith, TE, Marshall – fifth round
- Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers – first round
- Taylor Price, WR, Ohio – third round
- Zoltan Mesko, P, Michigan – fifth round
- Ted Larsen, C, North Carolina State – sixth round
- Thomas Welch, OT, Vanderbilt – seventh round
- Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State – seventh round
Fifteen of the aforementioned prospects resided with the Patriots for the 2020 regular season.
Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger at No. 37 overall was among them, alongside linebackers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings in the second and third rounds and offensive lineman Justin Herron at No. 195 overall.
“For me, it just gave me an opportunity to kind of solidify what I already knew – that I could play at this level,” Dugger, a member of the South roster, told reporters on post-draft conference call last spring. “And just also the opportunity to play and learn from the coaching staff who was teaching me things and just learn things about myself while being able to study the short week of film. So, it kind of gave me an extra boost of confidence.”
New England’s decade-long tally does not include those who withdrew their invitations due to injury or otherwise, such as former West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste and former Alabama rusher Damien Harris. But dating back to the 2010 Senior Bowl, close to 60 more attendees would land with the Patriots through waivers, free agency and trades later in their NFL careers, such as veterans John Simon and Terrence Brooks on the defensive side.
It’s one piece to the mosaic.
This year’s weigh-ins, meetings and practices ramp up to the exhibition on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12:30 p.m. ET.