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Patriots Sign Tight End Jakob Johnson Of German League

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots have signed a tight end. Out of Germany.

But when you read this kid's resume, you'll understand why Bill Belichick wants to take a look at Jakob Johnson.

Johnson played tight end for the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League last season, catching 43 passes for 474 yards and four touchdowns. A Stuttgart native, the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Johnson was signed by the Patriots on Monday as part of the NFL's International Pathway Program.

Johnson also had 12 tackles for the Scorpions last season, and he displayed quite a bit of versatility during his college career at the University of Tennessee. As a member of the Volunteers from 2014 to 2017, Johnson played tight end, fullback, lined up on both the offensive and defensive lines, and also spent time on special teams. He finished his collegiate career with 22 tackles, but only three receptions.

But if there is anything Belichick loves out of his players, it's an ability to play multiple roles on the field. As part of the International Pathway Program, if Johnson doesn't earn a spot on New England's 53-man roster next season, he will be granted a special 11th spot on the team's practice squad. He will not, however, be eligible for a promotion during the season with that special spot.

The Patriots still have lots of work to do at the tight end position, with Rob Gronkowski retiring and Dwayne Allen no longer in New England. Matt LaCosse, Jacob Hollister and Stephen Anderson currently make up their incredibly thin depth chart at the position. But with 12 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Patriots are expected to draft a tight end or two at the end of the month.

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