NEPD Mailbag: UDFA Edition

What are Forston's chances to make the 53 man roster this fall?

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

I’m not going to lie to you guys, somehow the fact that I write a mailbag column every Friday completely spaced my mind this week.

It’s a product of the offseason and how much I’m currently concentrating on the 2013 draft class, but that’s no excuse.

Luckily, I got one very good question on the Patriots undrafted free agents.

@JRPhillips27 asks:
@DougKyedNEPD The Patriots historically like to have one undrafted rookie in their team. Who makes the team this year?

Lets dive into this one full force. The Patriots signed seven undrafted free agents after the draftand all seven are intriguing players who should at least be able to stick on a practice squad.

Jeremiah Warren, OL, South Florida

What he adds: Warren is an interior lineman that the Patriots though enough of to work him out pre-draft. He can play guard and center and showed nice athleticism for his size. He’s Just under 6-3 and 324 pounds and fits that “big” prototype the Patriots have been looking for lately.

Competition: Warren’s biggest competition is fellow UDFA Markus Zusevics, Ryan Wendell, Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald and Dan Koppen. Zusevics and Thomas have tackle experience and all of the rest of those players have more experience than Warren.

Chances he makes the team: 5%, Warren should be able to slip to the practice squad and even if he doesn’t, the Patriots have plenty of interior line depth.

Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa

What he adds: Zusevics was a successful right tackle opposite Riley Reiff in Iowa. He has good size for the position and was coached extremely well at Iowa. There are similarities between New England and Iowa’s offenses that could help him make the transition. He tore a pectoral muscle at the combine, which severely hurt his value heading into the draft. If healthy, he could be a UDFA steal.

Competition: Zusevics has the same competition as Warren: Ryan Wendell, Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald and Dan Koppen. Zusevics tackle experience should certainly help him, and he looks like he could transition to guard as well. There’s a possibility that the Patriots could hold onto Zusevics on the PUP list.

Chances he makes the team: 30%, PUP list is a possibility as well.

Marcus Forston, DT, Miami

What he adds: Forston is another guy who’s stock dropped because of injury. Forston missed almost two full seasons at Miami, his senior season because of a knee injury. He showed flashes when healthy, but he’s certainly a risky player, which is why he went undrafted.

Competition: Forston’s biggest competition is Ron Brace, Marcus Harrison, Gerard Warren and Myron Pryor. I fully expect Pryor to make the team, but I’m not sure if Brace, Harrison, Warren or Forston do without other injuries.

Chances he makes the team: 10%, Forston could be another PUP candidate. If Forston proves healthy during the preseason, a team will likely snatch him up.

Brad Herman, TE, Iowa

What he adds: Herman certainly wasn’t the most productive TE at Iowa, and will likely just be a body for camp. He’s a decent blocking option, which is something the Patriots need.

Competition: Herman will need to compete with Daniel Fells for a job on the roster.

Chances he makes the team: 1%, I like the idea of more of a blocking TE, but Herman isn’t talented enough to make an NFL roster, he’ll likely slip through to the practice squad.

Matt Roark, WR, Kentucky

What he adds: Roark certainly has versatility, but the question is, is he good enough at anything to actually be an NFL player? Roark played WR and QB at Kentucky, but doesn’t flash elite athleticism. With great size at 6-5 225, it’s possible Roark could transition to TE.

Competition: Deion Branch, Britt Davis, Jeremy Ebert, Julian Edelman, Anthony Gonzalez, Chad Ochocinco, Donte Stallworth.

Chances he makes the team: 0%. There’s no way Roark makes the 53 man roster. He’s a practice squad candidate at either WR, QB or TE.

Justin Francis, DE/OLB, Rutgers

What he adds: Francis is the annual Rutgers player that the Patriots inevitably brought in. He’s not overly athletic, and he wasn’t overly productive as a Scarlet Knight. A 7.05 3-cone likely perked Belichick’s interest.

Competition: Jake Bequette, Markell Carter, Jermaine Cunningham, Trevor Scott, Alex Silvestro, Aaron Lavarias.

Chances he makes the team: 1%. There’s just way too much competition here. He’s a practice squad possibility, but the Patriots have great depth after the draft at the pass rush position.

Brandon Bolden, RB, Ole Miss

What he adds: Bolden flashed some great skills his junior year at Mississippi, but a sub par senior season plagued by an ankle injury hurt his stock. He’s not the fastest RB, but his 1.59 ten yard split at his pro day is right in the Patriots wheelhouse.

Competition: Joseph Addai

Chances he makes the team: 50%. It was well known that Bolden had other offers, so it’s likely the Patriots promised him competition for a role on this team. Addai has been ravaged by injuries lately, so that futher increases Bolden’s chances to make the team. He has just one guy to beat out in Addai.

I think an UDFA does wind up making this team. Injuries are so prevalent in training camp and if an offensive lineman or running back goes down, Zusevics or Bolden have a great chance of making this team. Forston might have the most upside out of any player that Patriots brought in.

The only player I see no chance in making the roster is Roark.

Tags: Brandon Bolden, Marcus Foston, Markus Zusevics, UDFA, Undrafted Free Agents

17 Responses to “NEPD Mailbag: UDFA Edition”

  1. Jim Keddy says:

    This was a pretty good UDFA class for the Patriots. Each year Great Blue North lists the top undrafted players. This year the Patriots
    landed the #3 (Forston), #18 (Bolden), #58 (Zusevics), and #81
    (Francis) ranked players.

    By comparison, the Jets got #15 (Steed), #36 (Fletcher), #51
    (Linthicum), asnd #52 (Dowtin)

    NEPD omitted Forston and Bolden when comparing Pats vs Jets.

  2. AM says:

    I’d bet on Zusevics making the roster–if not for the combine injury he would certainly have been drafted. Terrific potential to be the fourth tackle.

  3. Kemicol says:

    Roark could really give us another option at the move te/blocking role it’s really gunna depend on him picking up weight in the pro conditioning system because I just don’t see him sticking on the roster as a wide out maybe practice for a outside the numbers target

  4. Lundahl says:

    I want Forston on the practice squad ! And I’d rather have Bolden than Addai.

    • JMC says:

      ‘A’ scouting report I read on-line says Bolden is not a good blocker in pass protection-

      • Lundahl says:

        But Addai has the injury prone reputation. I’d like to have him at least on the practice squad.

      • Jim Keddy says:

        Addai, on the other hand, is a good blocker.

        The Patriots lost their best pass blocking running back, Kevin Faulk, for the first game in 2008. We
        all remember the result.

      • Jim R says:

        Practice squad for Bolden. Vareen was not a good blocker either, That might be the reason why he saw no action last year.

  5. psw says:

    I just don’t think Fortsen can stay healthy enough to give any help.

    • Lundahl says:

      I’d be good to have him on the practice squad, because Pryor always seems to be injured too at some point.

  6. Tom says:

    “the Patriots have great depth after the draft at the pass rush position.” is just not a line I am used to seeing to describe the Patriots the last few years.

    Do you think Herman might be trained (on the PS) to play tackle if he was brought in primarily as a blocking TE?

    • psw says:

      lets not mistake depth for quality. yeah we improved in quality a bit. but don’t expect any pro-bowl candidates. we have good behind good, instead of meh backed by suck. I’m looking forward to the developement of the 3 new de-olb’s.

      • Tom says:

        I would rather have good behind good than a Bills-type roster where the team could fall apart after a key injuries. I am looking forward to the development of those 3 OLB-DEs as well. I wonder if that is why Johnson was moved from the DL coach to LBs coach.

        I agree with your Forsten comment above.

    • NEPD says:

      No possible way on Herman playing OT. He’d need to add 50+ pounds and knowing his S&C coach that is out of the question.

      If anything, they could maybe convert him to a LB.

      • Tom says:

        LB is an interesting thought. I was just thinking Solder was a TE converted to tackle (although the conversion happened in college) and didn’t know if Herman had a similar projection.

        • psw says:

          It’s one thing to take a guy 6’8″280 and bump him over 300, but a guy with a much smaller frame and lighter starting weight.?
          I’m just saying I wouldn’t want Brady relying on a 280lb tackle or guard in this day and age.






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