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The Patriots Undrafted Undrafted Free Agents Who Made the First Cut
The group of UDFA rookies that made the first cut is highlighted by talented Miami wide receiver Jeff Thomas. He eas essentially chosen over other UDFA receivers Will Hastings (who was a former college teammate of Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham) and Isaiah Zuber. Here is the full list of UDFAs that made the cut down to 80 players.
Thomas has legitimate star potential. His speed, route running, and ball skills are high enough for him to have been drafted. He’s also an outstanding return man. At 5’9″, he’s a little small, but his athleticism is undeniable. He’s like a mixture between Brandin Cooks and Taylor Gabriel.
Thomas has had multiple off-the-field issues throughout his college career at Illinois and Miami. Because of this, NFL teams didn’t want to risk a draft pick on a player whose mental might not be aligned with the pro game.
The Patriots have already shown the first stages of belief in him by allowing him to remain on the team after the first roster trim down. Thomas recently tweeted this message which reads like a move in the right direction.
The Other Noteworthy Patriots Keepers
De’Jon “Scoota” Harris is a linebacker out of Arkansas with an excellent motor. Most project him as a special teams contributor early in his career–if he can stick on the roster.
Bernd Buchmasser of Pats Pulpit wrote this of Harris in an assessment of his potential role with the Patriots in 2020.
Harris, who goes by his nickname “Scoota,” spent his college career as an off-the-ball linebacker filling either the middle linebacker position when the team was in 4-3 looks or one of the two inside roles in a 3-4 alignment. Entering the NFL, this usage is expected to remain the same: the Patriots will likely employ him on the second defensive level in their hybrid scheme, and use him primarily on early downs and in the kicking game.
J.J. Taylor is another intriguing undrafted free agent who stuck after the first cut. At 5’5″, size is an obvious question for the running back whose power style doesn’t necessarily match his stature.
However, he has a skill set that figures to be attractive to the Patriots. Taylor is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, and the Patriots–as well as Cam Newton–have enjoyed success with these kinds of players in the past.
There is hope Taylor can turn into a Dion Lewis-style performer in New England.
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