NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
The New England Patriots have claimed four players on waivers since Saturday’s roster cutdown deadline, adding offensive guard Chris Barker, center Braxston Cave, defensive tackle A.J. Francis, and linebacker Chris White. Read on for some more information regarding the four newest members of New England’s roster.
OG Chris Barker – Barker, a rookie who played both guard positions at Nevada en route to an impressive 40 career starts, was named to All-Conference Second Teams in each of his final three seasons (All-WAC in 2010 and 2011, All-Mountain West in 2012.) He measured in at 6’3″ and 305 pounds at the NFL Combine, with respectable 33″ arms, posting 29 reps in the bench press. ProFootballFocus credits him with below-average play over 109 preseason snaps, specifically in terms of run-blocking. New England claimed him after he was waived by Miami.
OC Braxston Cave – Although considered a potential mid-to-late-round pick following a decorated college career in which he started 35 career games and functioned as Notre Dame’s long snapper, Cave went undrafted and was eventually signed by the Cleveland Browns, whom New England claimed him from. At 6’3″ and 303 pounds, Cave has a thick, powerful build for the position, although his athletic ability leaves something to be desired. ProFootballFocus assigned him an encouraging grade over 57 preseason snaps.
DT A.J. Francis – An undrafted free agent, Francis entered the league this August after making 35 starts for the Maryland Terrapins. He blocked four career kicks in college, posting 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks as a senior, along with three of his four blocks. According to ProFootballFocus, he played well over Miami’s five preseason games, taking 135 snaps with the defense and recording three quarterback hits and three pressures. At 6’5″ and 309 pounds, Francis has the size to play either defensive tackle or five-technique, the latter of which he played at Maryland.
LB Chris White – Drafted in the sixth round by the Buffalo Bills back in 2011, White’s athleticism is the most impressive aspect of his game. With adequate size for a 4-3 linebacker at 6’3″ and 240 pounds, White ran the three-cone drill in 6.95 seconds at the NFL Combine, then turned in a 40-yard dash time of 4.74 seconds at Mississippi State’s Pro Day. Since joining the NFL, however, he has been used sparingly, playing just sixteen defensive snaps this preseason and eight defensive snaps in 2012. He did not play on defense his rookie year, but has been credited by ProFootballFocus with sixteen career special teams tackles.