By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Even after making 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots remain on the hunt for fresh faces to add to their locker room ahead of the 2020 NFL season.
Here’s a list of reported undrafted free agents who will take their talents to Foxborough with the hope of making the 2020 Patriots later this year. This is a running list and will be updated with any additional signings or notes…
Under center, the Patriots found their long-awaited third quarterback with the reported signing of Louisiana Tech’s J’Mar Smith. A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Smith departs the school’s program with 51 touchdowns (fourth-most in program history) and 9,523 yards (third-most in program history) in four total seasons in Ruston.
But before their reported deal with Smith, the Patriots began their UDFA parade with the signing of Auburn slot receiver Will Hastings. The 5-foot-10 Hastings missed out playing with Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham in Stidham’s final year with the Tigers due to a torn ACL, but 2017 saw the duo come through with some legitimate chemistry, as Hastings hauled in 26 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns while working with Stidham in 2017.
Hastings was not the Patriots’ lone post-draft move at wideout, however, as the team also signed Isaiah Zuber and Sean Riley. Like Hastings, Zuber arrives at Patriot Place with slot receiver potential, and after a four-year college career with 141 catches, 1,532 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns in 44 games between Kansas State and Mississippi State. Riley, meanwhile, can also play the slot, but joins the Patriots after a beyond-legit special teams career at Syracuse.
(Read as: Gunner Olszewski is going to have to put in major work for the second preseason in a row to make this team.)
After drafting two tight ends on the second night of the draft, the Patriots continued to load up at perhaps their thinnest position on the offensive side of the ball and added a third with the signing of Ohio State’s Rashod Berry, per Ohio State reporter Dan Hope. While his usage would indicate that he seems to project as more of a blocking tight end, the former defensive end contributed 17 catches for 198 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games over four seasons. (In other tight end news, Thaddeus Moss, the son of ex-Patriots great Randy Moss, landed with the Washington Redskins.)
In the backfield, the Patriots added undersized back J.J. Taylor to the mix. Standing at 5-foot-6, the Arizona product joins the Patriots after totaling 721 yards on the ground (4.9 yards per carry and five touchdowns) and 32 catches for 289 receiving yards in 11 games for the Wildcats. Taylor’s 2018 was something to behold, too, as the crafty runner rushed for the seventh-most yards in the country (1,434) and captured countless accolades, including 2018 AP All-American (Third Team), 2018 All-Pac-12 (First Team), and 2018 AP All-Pac-12 Team (First Team) honors.
On Sunday, the Patriots added a fourth quarterback to their roster with the signing of Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke. The 6-foot-3 quarterback was a three-year starter for the Spartans, compiling a 22-16 record under center, and left school as the program’s all-time leading in total offense, with 9,548 yards (8,293 passing yards, 1,255 rushing yards).
The Patriots also continued to add at wideout, too, signing University of Miami’s Jeff Thomas. The 5-foot-10 Thomas spent three years with the Hurricanes, totaling 83 catches for 1,316 yards with eight touchdowns. Thomas also has considerable experience in the return game, with a 22.6 average return on 54 returns.
And the Patriots reached into their own backyard with the addition of Boston College tight end Jake Burt. A Lynnfield, Mass. native, Burt established collegiate career-highs in catches (15) and yards (212) in 11 games with the Eagles last year.
On the defensive line, the Patriots kicked things off with the signing of William & Mary defensive tackle Bill Murray, as first reported by Pelissero. The 6-foot-4 Murray finished 2019 with 46 total tackles (eighth-most on the Tribe) and a team-leading 11.5 tackles for a loss in his 11-game run. But his greatest contribution came with his blocked four kicks, which were the most among all Division-I talents in 2019.
The Pats added a second Louisiana Tech alum on Saturday night, too, with the signing of defensive tackle Courtney Wallace. He totaled a Bulldog career-best 41 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and two sacks in 13 games in 2019.
Murray and Wallace will be joined in the trenches by Auburn’s Nick Coe, according to Alabama.com’s Matt Zenitz. The 6-foot-5, 291-pound Coe totaled 71 tackles, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles in 36 games with the Tigers.
Shifting to linebacker, the Patriots continued their restocking of a rather depleted position with the inking of San Diego State University’s Kyahva Tezino and the Razorbacks’ De’Jon Harris. Tezino racked up 288 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 31.5 tackles for a loss over his four-season run with the Aztecs. Tezino was a 2019 PFF Honorable-Mention All-American. Harris, on the other hand, turns pro with the Patriots after leading Arkansas in tackles for three straight seasons.
New England also added another body to an experienced secondary with the reported signing of Washington’s Myles Bryant. The 5-foot-9 Bryant was was All-Pac-12 Second Team in both 2018 and 2019, and tallied 191 tackles, 20 passes defended, four interceptions, and 14 tackles for a loss in 50 games.
Sunday’s lone move on the defensive side of ball came with Miami’s Trevon Hill joining the Patriots. The 6-foot-3 defensive end appeared in 12 games for Miami in 2019, and ranked fourth on the team in both tackles for a loss (9.5) and sacks (4.5).
The Patriots have had an undrafted player make their 53-man roster in 16 straight seasons.