As the 2020 NFL Draft is in the books, now is the time the Patriots turn their focus towards rookie undrafted free agency. And under Bill Belichick, UDFAs know that they’ll have a legitimate shot at not only making the roster but actually play some meaningful snaps. The Patriots have an active 16-year streak of at least one undrafted player making the opening day roster.
After the draft concluded, the Patriots had 13 open spots on their initial 90-man offseason roster and they will continue to tinker with it…(we said it was initial), for several days as they jockey around trying to find the right fit for players as well as the team.
Here are the Patriots undrafted free agency signings thus far:
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
QB Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
WR Jeff Thomas, Miami
DE Trevon Hill, Miami
TE Jake Burt, Boston College
We’re not writing anyone off or on the roster at this early juncture, however, there are a few players that we found intriguing from a talent standpoint and we’ll be watching how their tenure with New England works or doesn’t in the coming days.
Nick Coe, DE Auburn: After getting off to a slow start as a freshman, Coe showed great promise as a sophomore in Auburn, notching 7 sacks and two sacks before suffering a wrist injury that requires surgery. But his final season was wracked with disappointment and a loss of his starting job.
Worse, reports of falling asleep in meetings, and being a malcontent in the locker room as he was held out of the Arkansas game last fall for “not meeting the practice standards” according to head coach Gus Malzahn.
However, Coe looks the part at 6’5 and a chiseled 280 pounds and has the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive line. He’s a hard-hitting DL with the upper body strength to hold up well at the point of attack. When going against tight ends on the edge, he generally dominated them.
But he generally doesn’t have that first step quickness that will translate into pass rush moves that threaten the pocket. He often plays with a narrow base that can result in him being on the ground. Coe has all the physical attributes, but how will he react with the coaching staff here and play to his potential? If he buys in and plays to his strengths, he could be another intriguing interior subpackage pass rusher.
Jeff Thomas, WR, Miami: I was intrigued by Thomas during the draft process as again, there is the potential there for him to be a viable slot receiver target at the next level. Thomas has the speed, quickness, and play-making ability to attack at all three levels in the NFL. Unfortunately, his biggest drawbacks were poor quarterback play and even poorer decisions that caused teams to drop him from their draft boards.
A look at his tape and he’s electric, creating huge chunk plays down the field with explosive speed, the ability to make people miss and has a very good return capability on special teams.
He does rely too much on athletic talent over route-running and tends to body catch rather than using his hands. And he needs to work on his release at the line of scrimmage as well, but these are all easily fixable with good coaching.
But he was a discipline problem and was booted off the team only to be brought back by new coach Manny Diaz in 2019, but was suspended again. His biggest obstacle standing in his way is his own character. If he can look himself in the mirror and realize that his own behavior was the reason he went undrafted (he has the talent), and buys into the coaching and culture here in New England, he could be a steal. Otherwise, he’ll go down as a guy who threw it all away.
The signing of William & Mary DT Bill Murray will be bound to cause some social media reaction. His headshot reminds you of someone who fought with Joshua Chamberlain at Little Round Top with the 20th Maine. But he also was very productive with 11.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and four blocked kicks in 2019 with 10 blocks overall in his career. Don’t go to sleep on him just yet either.
Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Draft
Tags: 2020 NFL Draft 2020 Patriots Draft 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick New England Patriots Patriots UDFA signings 2020