New England Patriots sign 12 undrafted free agents
I mentioned that the Patriots signed twelve new players as undrafted free agents, so I’ll take the time here to feature them. Considering that the Patriots’ top two runners (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead) were undrafted, as was their leading WR (Wes Welker) and leading pass-rusher (DT Mike Wright), I would never write off the chances of an undrafted free agent signed by New England. Without further ado:
- Mike Berry, RG, Auburn. I would not sleep on Berry. He has decent size at 6’3″, 320, and he played for a national champion and protected/paved the way for Heisman Trophy winner and #1 pick QB Cam Newton. With Stephen Neal retired, Berry has a real shot here.
- Ryan Coulson, OLB, Nevada. Coulson is a good character guy (team captain) and a potential special-teamer (handled long-snapper duties). Seems like a long-shot to play defense.
- Kyle Hix, OT, Texas. Hix has exceptional size (6’7″, 325) and has played left tackle and right tackle. Of course, he’s strictly a RT prospect here, as he doesn’t have the feet or athleticism of a pro LT.
- Chris Koepplin, K, Massachusetts. Koepplin’s an interesting case, having went undrafted out of Massachusetts in 2008 and playing the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the Arena Football League 2 with the Manchester Wolves. Instead of Shayne Graham, Koepplin will represent Stephen Gostkowski’s camp leg in the event that Gostkowski isn’t quite ready after his quad injury.
- Aaron Lavarias, OLB, Idaho. Lavarias is another good character type of person, and he also has some decent pass rushing skills (10 sacks as a senior). He’s a college defensive end, but at 6’2″, 255 pounds, he’d have to convert to linebacker in New England. If he can make the transition though, I think he could be decent.
- Anthony Leonard, ILB, West Virginia. Leonard was expecting to be drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, but they didn’t draft any linebackers. Now Leonard is in New England, where he’ll probably need an injury and a memorable training camp and preseason to make the team.
- Clay Nurse, DE, Illinois. Nurse is another player who played at DE in college but at 260 pounds will most likely not be a 3-4 end in New England. But he doesn’t appear to be a good candidate to transition to linebacker either. A good guy and a hard worker with some physical skills, but an odd fit here in my opinion.
- Jeremy Ross, WR, California. Ross is built like a running back at just under 6’0″ and 215 pounds. He’s an all-purpose threat as a receiver, runner, and returner. If he can stand out returning punts, Ross just might have a shot. Julian Edelman isn’t bad there at all, but Ross has potentially difference-making speed.
- Alex Silvestro, OLB, Rutgers. Silvestro is another college DE who will try and show some pass-rushing ability to make New England’s roster.
- Jeff Tarpinian, ILB, Iowa. Tarpinian probably won’t be playing defense in New England. However, he has great speed for a linebacker and will be given a chance to make a difference on special teams.
- Corey Woods, OT, Akron. Woods played at right tackle early in his career before shifting to left tackle as a junior. He might be versatile, but he also may not be talented enough to make the roster.
- Will Yeatman, TE, Maryland. Yeatman was at Notre Dame before finishing up at Maryland, and he’s also also a two-sport athlete, excelling at lacrosse. In fact, he may not even stay at TE, as his size may allow the Patriots to see if he can play OT. He’s just interesting enough to think that the Patriots could keep him around as a developmental project.
Again, I would not sleep on these guys automatically. Out of all of the Patriots 2010 undrafted free agent signings, three players earned significant playing time at some point through the season: OLB Dane Fletcher, SS Sergio Brown, and NT Kyle Love. The Patriots seemed to put a lot of emphasis on getting some athletes who could potentially rush the passer, some offensive line prospects, and special teams in going about their undrafted recruitment. We’ll see who winds up sticking!
-1SKILLZ| Aaron Lavarias, Alex Silvestro, Anthony Leonard, Chris Koepplin, Clay Nurse, Corey Woods, Jeff Tarpinian, Jeremy Ross, Kyle Hix, Mike Berry, New England Patriots, Ryan Coulson, Undrafted free agents, Will Yeatman