The NFL draft is one of the most hyped times in football often times the one part of a failing teams season that fans look forward too, but what fans underestimate is the impact of the rookie free agents signed after the draft. Bill Belichick and company have made it a point to take undrafted free agency seriously as they know there are players that slip through the draft cracks. Recently the Patriots received solid contributions from undrafted free agent defensive tackles Joe Vellano along with wide out Kembrell Thompkins or even top rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis several years ago. With their recent success fans have come to expect one surprise each season, and with that being said here are the players that in my opinion are the 4 undrafted free agents most likely to stick in New England.
Making The Roster
Justin Jones, TE, East Carolina - The New England Patriots are scary thin at the tight end position right now especially with Gronk's injury history so it makes sense that they added multiple TE immediately after the ending of the draft. The player most likely to stick looks like Justin Jones, put and extra emphasis on the looks like he fits in the NFL because at 6'8'' 275lbs Jones stands out in a crowd.
Jones was passed on in the draft because he was academically ineligible this past season but when he did play in 2012 he had good number recording 25 receptions for 346 yards. He also had three TD catches and still only 22 years of age has room to grow.
With his incredible size and the Patriots' lack of talent at the position Bill Belichick will find a way to utilize Jones in the New England offense even if it is a minimal role.
Tyler Ott, LS, Harvard - Not the most interesting position in the NFL but few can argue the situational importance of a long snapper, in fact anyone who watched the first 5 plays of the Superbowl can attest to the importance of a long snapper as a team in Denver that needed a perfect game was let down by their long snapper on their first possession.
As for the Patriots Aiken has held a set spot for the Patriots at long snapper for several seasons but had some particularly sketchy snaps late in the season into the playoffs. Pair that with the cheaper cap hit and Belichick makes the decision to keep Ott.
Making the Practice Squad
Jeremy Deering, S, Rutgers - Listed at safety Deering essentially is just an athlete coming into the NFL. Getting reps all over the field in college Deering looks to be a best fit on special teams. A player that looks to have 4.4 speed and is coming out of the Bill Belichick academy formally known as Rutgers, Deering looks like a long term option at gunner on special teams.
Stephen Houston, RB, Indiana - After drafting a running back this year the Patriots are unlikely to keep Houston on the roster however at 5'11'' 225lbs Houston has a solid build to play running back in the NFL. Also Houston excels as a one cut runner much like current New England backs Bolden and Ridley.
If Houston can continue to learn to read blocks and get better catching the ball or finds a role on special teams he could make the roster down the road for the Patriots.