2015 NFL Draft: Undrafted Free Agent Analysis

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

Looking for full list of UDFA signings? CLICK HERE.

Who will be this year’s Malcolm Butler? A player that comes in after the seventh round, catches the eye of the coaching staff and forces his way on to the 53-man roster.

Read below for who the Patriots picked up after the 2015 NFL Draft was over.

-More updated as the picks are signed.

Devin Gardner (QB/WR, Michigan)

This signing will draw the most attention because Gardner is a huge name in the college football world. The dynamic and enigmatic QB is going to covert to Wide Receiver for the Patriots. After using 11 selection in the NFL Draft and zero of them on a Wide Receiver, Gardner was a prime free agent target. The Patriots held private workouts with Gardner prior to the draft and were rumored to be one of the teams most interested. At 6’4″ and 218 lbs. he gives Quarterbacks a large body target to throw to. We all know the Patriots converted Julian Edelman from Quarterback to Receiver in 2009 and while no one can expect the same results, the Patriots hope they have a solid developmental weapon for the future. One problem Gardner may have at the next level is his speed. He only  ran a 4.65 at his pro day, so he lacks the explosiveness that the team usually desires on the perimeter.

Jimmy Jean (DB, UAB)

Jean is a tall and thin defensive back prospect. The thing that drew the Patriots to him is definitely his versatility. Jean has experience playing Cornerback and Free Safety for the now defunct Blazers program. He played in 12 Games last season with 42 total tackles and one interception. Jean really has no defining characterisitc that makes me think he has a shot at making the roster. The Patriots likely view him as a potential Special Teams player and versatile backup if he reaches his ceiling. Jean ran 4.58 at his Pro Day and only managed to Bench 225 7 times. The rest of his agility numbers were sub-par.

David Andrews (C, Georgia)

Without a doubt the Free Agent that has the best shot (as of right now of making the team). Bill Belichick personally conducted a private workout with Andrews when he went down to Georgia in early March. He’s a 3 year starter at Center and a 4 year contributor. Over the course of his career he’s earned many accolades from the program including the 2014 Vince Dooley Most Valuable Player Award.  He was named team Captain during 3 different seasons and then was voted the team’s overall permanent captain in 2014. Andrews was also awarded Frank Sinkwich Toughest Player Award, which we know is the number one characteristic the Patriots look for in their linemen.

On the field he’s a bit undersized, but a mobile and athletic blocker. He’s asked to pull quite often and his mobility will make him a nice fit for the Patriots zone scheme. He’s been battle tested vs. the top competition in the nation for four seasons and improved each year. Andrews plays with great balance and anticipates defensive movements. His positioning is top notch and his mirror skills are NFL caliber. He’s great in pass protection, as he hasn’t allowed a sack over the last two seasons. The biggest concerns are definitely his size and ability to handle the physicality of the NFL game. He’ll add depth at Center behind Bryan Stork and battle Ryan Wendell for the back-up job.

Chris Harper (WR, California)

Harper is an early entry into the draft that went unpicked through the 7 round process. He was Cal’s top receiver the last two seasons and actually saw significant playing time as a freshman playing along side Keenan Allen. Harper is slightly built, but quick, twitchy, and fluid. The thing that likely caught the Patriots attention was his ability to run routes and get out of breaks. Harper had the measureables to get drafted as he ran a 4.52 40 at this pro day jumped 35″ and had a broad of 10′. His 3-Cone, which is always vital to the Patriots is only average (7.03). Harper also has experience returning punts and can likley add special teams value.

Brandon King (DB, Auburn)

Unsure if this move is Try Out based on a straight UDFA contract as of right now. King played Safety for the majority of his career, but his Auburn bio says he “moved to bolsterd the pass rush for the second half of the season”. He won’t be doing that in the NFL because he’s listed at 6’2″/213 and has the athleticism to play in the secondary. King had a great pro day, which a large Patriots contingent attended, including Bill Belichick. King ran 4.40 in the forty, had a 38″ vertical, 10’6″ broad jump, and did 19 reps of 225. King appears to have experience on Special Teams and will have to earn his way onto the roster covering kicks. He’s a long shot at best to stick.

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28 Responses to “2015 NFL Draft: Undrafted Free Agent Analysis”

  1. KNOWLEDGE says:

    Overall I give them Pats a solid B for this draft. I just can’t get over day 2 and especially pick 64. Without a go to RB or WR with some size, If they drafted Tevin Coleman, Duke Johnson, or Jaelen Strong they would have hit a homerun. They could have drafted that kid from Stanford in the 5th round instead of wasting it on a long snapper. There is no way that he would have been there at 137 in the 5th. I am also wondering how Grissom only had 2.5 sacks last year at Oklahoma. He is a fully developed athlete with good measurables with no production. I think Zxavier Dickson in the 7th round will be the better player. He has a nose for the QB at the Inside and Outside LB position. 9 sacks is really good for an inside backer.

    But I think the drafted 3-4 potential starters in this draft. That would make this a very successful draft.

  2. Out west says:

    They still need help at corner and at wideout should have dealt with it, and the Midshipman is on his way to the Persian gulf. Might as well drafted a good grade 11 kid, would be available around the same time and after 5 years same skills. Bill won with two great free agent pickups because of need . Guess what we still need.

  3. steve says:

    I’d say that with all these quality O-linemen that Connolly won’t be coming back and Wendell is in trouble. More interesting is that the 2 linemen are right guards, supposedly (we’ll see about that), but who will be the starting left guard, will Stork be moved from center in order to get more beef on the line? Will Flemming stick? Is the experiment with Cannon at guard over? Seeing how this line shakes out will be very interesting, but I love what they have. The increase in size alone over the past few years is nice to see; this year should increase even more in overall size of the O-line.

    Defensive line looks to be an even bigger change because we’ve seen the final moves to transition to even more flexible D. I think they’ll be coming from every angle this year; and the last two #1 picks should be the center pieces up front along with C. Jones. The linebackers will be coming also. New group of backups at end it seems; at least there will be huge competition and someone (2 or 3) must be able to play out of that group…at least apply some pressure and help out the secondary playing zone. Lots of confusion for these young developing QB’s, especially in our division…good luck to them. I really feel that was the reason for the smart 2nd round SS…he should help pull this defense together by mid-season, if not sooner along with the other leaders like McCourty, Mayo etc…

    Should add to the fun of watching this team come together…both personnel-wise and schematically.

  4. Charles Champagne says:

    The Patriots went exclusively Defense in the draft in the rounds that counted! 1rst and second round pick were exactly what the needed, Malcolm Brown is a stud and the kid from Stanford is a player and he went to a school that doesn’t tolerate children acting like street thugs so he must be a fairly well adjusted kid.

  5. Mike Carlson says:

    If Andrews is a threat to start, what does that say about Mason? Garcia went a few picks after Mason; Mason’s faster I suppose, but very small.

    I also can’t figure out why the lack of interest in Josh Shaw, unless it’s character issues. Flowers seems to be a one position version of Grissom, whereas a CB/S with Shaw’s measurables, and the way he played post-season, seemed to fit a need.

    • MM-II says:

      Andrews is 6021/295#. Mason is 6016/304#. So, size-wise, both are in the same range as Wendell, Barker, Hauptmann and, actually, Kline (IOW, all significantly smaller than Stork – 6037/315#).

      Both Mason and Andrews did a lot more run-blocking than pass-blocking. IIRC, BB said something about Mason doing more run-blocking in one game than most Centers from spread offenses did in a season. He was exaggerating a bit, but the point holds true and that may be good news for the RBs, though I really don’t know which scheme either of them played in – power/man or ZBS . The flipside of this is that both may need significant development in pass-blocking, maybe especially if they were doing a lot of power-man in college.

      By the numbers, Mason appears to be the most athletic of the above group, with the possible exception of Wendell, for whom I’ve never been able to find pre-draft workout numbers.

      I’d guess that if either of these two develops over the summer to the point that they could handle starting at the pivot, Stork might be able, then, to move over to LG.

  6. jim r says:

    This draft was no different from most. They have some great picks to go along with the head scratchers. In the end they have a system that is superior than most. They will coach em up and get them ready. I hope you all are as pumped as I am to see the long snapper in mini-camp

  7. J H TARBORO says:

    I’m ok now with their draft and UDFAs, night 2 i wasn’t happy at all.
    We will see how it comes together, also in fairness to Devin Gardner, he’s a long speed athlete that’s extremely versatile and if you watched his tape as a QB, Devin wasn’t afraid of contact or running between the tackles, he would be great as a big slot receiver, i wouldn’t just line him up outside.

    • MM-II says:

      I just read a report that Gardner sought out Edelman awhile back for advice on making the transition from QB to WR. If true, I can’t imagine the Pats didn’t incorporate Edelman’s take on Gardner into their overall scouting.

  8. Dan Sullivan says:

    I am very happy with Patriots draft. Probable my favorite pick was Shaq Mason along
    with Tre Jackson the running game will be very strong. I still think that UDFA RB,OT and CB’S
    are still available that can challenge for a job. I would give Patriots a A for draft
    and a C for UDFA. Andrews center for Georgia could push for starting position.

  9. Ryan says:

    The Pats have officially filled their roster. They got a receiver, center and defensive back, but with teams filling up their rosters and some good players remaining I would like to see them release up to 3 players for the following:

    DT Xavier Williams/Kaleb Eulls
    OG Josue Matias/Adam Shead
    CB Ladarius Gunter/Julian Wilson

  10. saddle says:

    Dyer is definitely a steal as a UDFA. Great back at league minimum for at least 2 years.

  11. jmscooby says:

    I just wanted to say I appreciate your site and come here every year for your UDFA signings. This is my favorite time of the year, moreso than the actual draft, and you do a spectacular job. Very nice job!

  12. GM-in-Training says:

    What happened with Tyrell Williams?

  13. Oppitz says:

    How many spots do we have on the 90 man roster right now?

    • Ryan says:

      They currently have 87 players but could easily release some veterans or backups. If they keep all 87, they will only have room for 3 UDFAs under the 90-man limit.

      • MM-II says:

        Well, technically, the Pats have only 80 players on their roster as of 4:00 PM Sunday – the 75 they started with before the draft plus the five UDFA signees – since the only guys who count are those actually under contract. I mean, AFAIK, none of the 11 guys they drafted have signed a contract yet, and it could be two to four weeks before ALL of them are officially in the fold. They can participate in Rookie Camp under a waiver in lieu of a signed contract, which is pretty much what the “Tryout” designated guys are doing around the league.

        In the meantime, the Pats could, and very well might, sign a couple-three more UDFAs and churn the whole UDFA crop a couple times. But, yeah, if the rookies look good in their first appearance (and pass their physicals) the Pats could also cut a couple of the Reserve/Futures guys they signed in January (e.g., Rufus Johnson) and/or a couple 2014 PSQ guys (Bequette, Hauptmann), and/or a couple of the “draft-insurance guys” they signed in free agency (Chekwa, Martin).

        Bottom line is that they have a lot of wiggle room left under the roster limit.

  14. Ryan says:

    My favorites:

    WR: Dres Anderson, Antwan Goodley, Josh Harper, Austin Hill
    OL: Josue Matias, Sean Hickey, Adam Shead
    DL: Kaleb Eulls, Xavier Williams, Ray Drew, Cedric Reed
    LB: Alani Fua, Trey Depriest
    CB: Ladarius Gunter, Justin Coleman, Julian Wilson, Jacoby Glenn

    Didn’t include those who had signed by the time I had posted.

    • acm says:

      Coleman and Drew already signed elsewhere, iirc.

      Gunter, X.Williams and Fua for me among those – think Pats had 5-6 spots at most after the draft and they already signed OC David Andrews (Georgia)

  15. MM-II says:

    Zach Zenner, Malcolm Brown, Dominique Brown

    Rannell Hall, Austin Hill

  16. Hala Madrid says:

    Titus Davis would be nice. Also i’m pretty sad that Sokoli was drafted by the Seahawks.

  17. KNOWLEDGE says:

    Terrance Magee RB LSU- Strong runner between the tackles and can make the team’s final roster

    Michael Dyer RB Louisville- Always reminded me of Reggie Bush. Explosive 3rd down back that can fill the Kevin Faulk role.

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