On Saturday, the Patriots signed veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief to the 53-man roster. He had been called up from the practice squad for two standard elevations the past couple of weeks. On Saturday, the Patriots made his addition to the main roster official.
New England also activated rookie tight end, Dalton Keene, from injured reserve.
Both are expected to be active and ready to contribute on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium.
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Moncrief Up, Ford Out
Moncrief’s arrival on the 53-man roster (which was alongside the call up of defensive tackle Akeem Spence) coincided with the release of the recently acquired Isaiah Ford. The Patriots sent a conditional pick to the Miami Dolphins for Ford, but he failed to distinguish himself with his new team and was released on Saturday.
My guess is the Patriots did not lose a draft pick in the Isaiah Ford trade. He did not play a snap and was on the 53-man roster for only 3 games.
— Cap Space = $20,450,825 (@patscap) December 5, 2020
Moncrief surpassed him on the team’s depth chart and based on head coach Bill Belichick’s words on Moncrief, it’s easy to see why this decision was made.
Here is Belichick on Moncrief’s attitude and approach from his live stream presser on Friday:
Donte has had a real good attitude since he got here. He’s had to learn some different things offensively, both terminology and some route concepts and so forth, but he’s done a good job of that. He’s shown his good running skills and good athleticism and good hands. So, those are good qualities for a kickoff returner. He’s got good size and speed and toughness and runs hard.
Moncrief came up with one of the biggest plays of the game against the Arizona Cardinals last week. His clutch kick return gave the Patriots momentum and led to their first score.
Donte Moncrief breaking tackles for a 53-yard kickoff return.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 29, 2020
In addition to Moncrief likely resuming his kick return duties, the veteran could also see time at wide receiver.
Keene to Join Izzo as an Active Tight End Option
Keene is still raw and very inexperienced having only been on the field for a handful of games this season.
He has caught one pass but has yet to make any major impact for the Patriots. The team is hoping that changes on Sunday.
Here’s what Patriots.com said about Keene after the team selected him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Athletic and versatile, lined up all over Virginia Tech’s offense, including inline, split out wide and in the backfield. …Surprising speed and fluidity with the ball in his hands. …Hands-catcher who looks comfortable catching the ball. …Toughness shows up on film and off the field. …Good NFL size and determination in blocking game. …Consistent smart play, no penalties in 2019. …Durable, started 38-straight games. …Plays with infectious energy, a team favorite. …Plus special teams ability.
It’s not wise to expect Keene to turn into the second coming of Rob Gronkowski or even beloved fullback James Develin overnight, but simply having him available and as a potential contributor has to feel good for the player, team, and its fans.
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