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.
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.