Breaking: Patriots to Sign Jeff Demps

Jeff Demps is the newest and fastest New England Patriot weapon.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

According to multiple sources the Patriots are on the verge of signing 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist and former Florida Gator RB/WR Jeff Demps to a contract. Demps who was widely regarded as the fastest player in college football, will impact the Patriots special teams and kick return units immediately.

Last season the Patriots finished 29th in the NFL in kick returns, averaging only 21.4 yards per return. It was a major area of weakness for the team all of last season, and continued to be up to this point in the preseason. Yesterday, Coach Bill Belichick was asked about the struggling unit and the importance of a good kick return. He has this to say:

“We didn’t return them very well in any conditions, at any time. And still haven’t, based on the New Orleans game. That’s obviously an area we can improve in and we have worked hard in, but based on the results, still need to do a lot more work on. It’s an important area in the game, a big momentum play. It’s a way to answer the opponents’ score or the start of the half, whatever the situation is there. It’s a big play in the game. We put a lot of stock in that, just like we do every other play.”

Enter Jeff Demps.

Demps was eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft, but decided against taking part in the pre-draft process to focus on training for the London Olympics, specifically the 100m and 4x100m relay team. While Demps failed to qualify for the Olympics in the 100m, he finished 7th with a time of 10.27 seconds, he did go to London as a member of the 4×100 relay team.

In London, Demps ran the first leg of the 4×100 qualifying heat in which the United States won with a time of 37.38 and sent them into the finals. Demps did not take part in the finals, but received a Silver Medal for the qualifying effort. Once the Olympics ended, Demps’ agent sent word to the NFL and NFL teams that he wanted to play in the NFL this year.

As many as 20 NFL teams had interest in Jeff Demps, but it appears that the two finalists were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots, with whom he worked out for on Thursday. The Patriots need for a kick returner and being a Super Bowl contender likely put the Patriots over the top. Demps will join Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez and Jermaine Cunningham as members of the Florida National Championship team that are now on the Patriots roster.

The Patriots failed to address the kick return unit in the off-season and during the preseason have used a variety of different players in that role, none of whom have showed much improvement. Demps will likely impact the Patriots kick return unit immediately.  While he didn’t do a whole lot of kick returning at Florida he did average 28.7 yards on his 21 kick returns.

Aside from his special teams role, it’s likely Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels has a specfic role in mind for Demps. He will give the Patriots offense a dynamic “gadget” back similar to what Dexter McCluster does for the Kansas City Chiefs. In his college career Demps averaged 7.04 yards per carry and broke off numerous big plays both in the run game and the passing game. Demps is not an everydown player but, expect to see him used in certain situations. When he is in the game Demps can line up all over the formation as the Patriots try to create a mismatch with his world class speed. The Patriots love to create mismatches and Demps’ speed is nearly impossible to match up against or game plan for.

How big of an impact will Demps make this year? Only time will tell, but he sure does offer a better alternative at kick returner than what the Patriots have been deploying the past year and a half.

Stay tuned to NEPD for more Jeff Demps news throughout the day.

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4 Responses to “Breaking: Patriots to Sign Jeff Demps”

  1. Sean says:

    I still think they will carry 6 WR.

    Unless they decide to go with Silvestro as the 3rd TE I see only Gronk and Hernandez again as the only two TE’s to start the season.

    Shiancoe will be part of the final cuts and they will resign him later once he is healthy and they don;t have to guarantee his salary that way as well.

    Fells will go to the PUP and come back mid season when he’s fully healthy.

  2. Phil says:

    Get him in space and he will be hard to bring down. Match up nightmare. Love this signing. After this…I don’t see either Stallworth or Branch making the team. It’s time for Edelman to take Branch’s spot and Demps can take Stallworth’s as the KR. I still see Bolden on the team. Great backup for Ridley. Plus, Aaron Hernandez is versatile enough to be a WR so there is no need for a 6th WR.

    • DWE2012 says:

      Stallworth has been doing great from what I hear. Respectfully, I’d take Stallworth OVER Edelman, Eddy still has yet too even garner his own spot…. what’s that tell ya’?
      Demps has potential sure, but those who know, know that his ISSUE’s…..
      are his hand’s!
      If the Patriot staff work on his hand work, non-stop so that it meld’s with his other attributes, then and only then will he rise and make stance as a bonified starter with attibutes that will be helpfull in the long term for the Patriots.
      Also what does this signing mean for the combo of Vereen, Ridley and of course Danny Woodhead???
      This is a great signing for all around S.T. & (RB) releif/help.
      and specifically an Edelman Replacement if he doesn’t start catching all sort’s of ball’s IMO.
      Edelman belong’s in a package with Hoyer + one more player for good measure.
      The Pat’s staff need to work on his hand’s & he need’s to learn and adapt to it, otherwise he’ll be more limited than some may assume.

  3. patfanaz says:

    great pick up. Best thing is the Jets wanted him as well and failed.

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