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Patriots release rookie cornerback Ameer Speed, opening spot on their 53-man roster

New England has partied ways with a member of its draft class.

New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have parted ways with a member of their 2023 draft class. As the club announced on Thursday, cornerback Ameer Speed has been released.

Speed, 24, originally joined the Patriots as a sixth-round selection out of Michigan State. Despite his lack of draft pedigree, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound rookie saw extensive action in preseason and was able to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.

He went on to appear in five of six regular season games, seeing a vast majority of his snaps on special teams.

In total, he played 73 kicking game snaps and registered one tackle. The Patriots primarily employed him on the punt and kickoff return units as well as the kickoff coverage squad.

His defensive opportunities were marginal, meanwhile. Even with the Patriots suffering multiple injuries at cornerback, the team opted to use him only once on that side of the ball: he played 10 snaps late in a 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, notching a pair of tackles in the running game.

With Speed now released and no follow-up move announced, the Patriots’ roster stands at 52 at the moment. There are a few candidates to fill the open spot, though.

Cornerback Jack Jones, who remains on injured reserve due to a hamstring ailment, returned to practice this week. Defensive lineman Trey Flowers and special teamer Cody Davis are also in their respective activation windows after having missed time on the physically unable to perform list.

The Patriots will host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.