By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- The 2018 NFL Draft may have ended early Saturday evening, but the work did not stop there for Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and the New England Patriots.
As the Patriots often do, they got to work to sign several players who went undrafted in the seven rounds held between Thursday and Saturday. It's an area where they've found some diamonds in the rough over the years, the greatest example of which being Malcolm Butler. Starting center and team captain David Andrews also went undrafted, as did familiar names like running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, cornerback Randall Gay, and punter Ryan Allen. Though they didn't initially sign with the Patriots, receivers Danny Amendola and Wes Welker went on to have long and prosperous careers after starting out in the NFL as undrafted free agents.
The Patriots have to hope they can be so lucky with one or two of their signings this year. Here's which players the Patriots have reportedly signed:
- P Ryan Anderson, Rutgers (Source)
- DT John Atkins, Georgia (Source)
- P Corey Bojorquez, New Mexico (Source)
- DE Trent Harris, Miami (Source)
- DT Frank Herron, LSU (Source)
- WR Chris Lacy, Oklahoma State (Source)
- CB J.C. Jackson, Maryland (Source)
- CB A.J. Moore, Ole Miss (Source)
- RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt (Source)
- TE Shane Wimann, Northern Illinois (Source)
Of course, everyone perhaps should have foreseen Belichick signing an undrafted punter out of Rutgers ... and then signing another punter, just in case. Kidding aside, don't be shocked if one of those two players ends up on the roster. After all, Allen's signing didn't garner much attention in 2013, because Zoltan Mesko was the established player on the roster -- one on whom the Patriots even spent a fifth-round pick. So not many people expected Allen to win the starting job, but he did, and he's held on to it for five years. With Allen entering the final year of his contract, don't be stunned if you end up learning how to spell and pronounce Bojorquez or seeing another Rutgers player added to the roster. (Former Rutgers long snapper Steve Belichick should at least be able to fire some snaps to Anderson in camp.)
Considering the Patriots' most recent success in undrafted free agents involved Butler making a history-altering play in the Super Bowl, it's fair to assume that J.C. Jackson and A.J. Moore will get some attention in camp. Hoping either of those two players might be able to make such an impact in 2018 is probably a bit of a stretch, but then again, you never do know. Jackson recorded three interceptions in 12 games for Maryland last year, while Moore did not intercept any passes in his four seasons at Ole Miss and should probably be considered a special teamer at this point.
Lacy, the receiver out of Oklahoma State, had a better junior season (31 receptions, 489 yards, 3 touchdowns) than senior season (20 receptions, 264 yards, 0 touchdowns).
Harris, the defensive end out of Miami, may be the most intriguing name. He recorded 8.5 sacks and 10.5 total tackles for a loss last year and was named All-ACC Third Team.
Webb, the running back out of Vanderbilt, put up some big numbers in his sophomore season (1,152 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns; 24 receptions for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns) and junior season (1,283 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns; 21 receptions for 166 yards) but didn't produce as much in his senior season. He did, however, rush for 10 touchdowns last season.
Wimann, the tight end out of Northern Illinois, didn't pile up the receiving yards but did manage to come up with a high volume of touchdown receptions. He caught six touchdowns in 2016 (on just 24 receptions) and followed it up with seven touchdown receptions in 2017 (on just 30 receptions). The Patriots did also draft tight end Ryan Izzo out of Florida State late in the seventh round.
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