Patriots Bring Back Massive 320-Pound Defensive Tackle

Getty Bill Belichick

With hours to go before the start of the NFL draft, the New England Patriots made one last free agent signing before turning their attention to prospect acquisition.

The Patriots have re-signed defensive tackle Carl Davis, they announced on April 28.

ESPN’s Field Yates was the first to report the deal on April 27, and Davis, 30, followed up with a tweet minutes after Yates’ tweet.

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Davis, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2015 draft. After spending the first two seasons of his NFL career with the Ravens, Davis played five games for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and split three games with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts.

Davis appears to have found something of a home with the Patriots. After New England signed him in 2020, and he appeared in just three games because of injury, Davis played in all 17 regular-season games in 2021. He even started four games. While primarily a run-stuffer, Davis did have a sack and a quarterback hit to his credit last season.

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Though Davis is not necessarily a needle-mover, he is what many might describe as a “glue guy.” The Patriots have long valued the kind of space eater who absorbs blockers and allows the second-level defenders to surge and limit the run game. Vince Wilfork is perhaps the best example of this archetype in Patriots history.

Davis’ ability to be a force on the inside – and to provide support and depth – made him valuable to New England.

Would the Patriots Draft a Defensive Lineman?

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick typically values interior linemen later in the draft and is likely to choose the best player available in earlier rounds, regardless of position.

If there are fits at defensive tackle and especially at edge rusher when the Patriots pick at No. 21 in the first round, you’d have to think New England would pull the trigger on one. One notable draft prognosticator has predicted the Patriots will take a defensive back, while another one suggested the Patriots would take a linebacker.

Don’t Rule Out a New QB Joining the Mix

It seems unlikely the Patriots would draft a quarterback in the seventh round. However, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the team sign a quarterback as an undrafted free agent. While Mac Jones is the team’s starter and Brian Hoyer is the backup, there are a ton of questions about Jarrett Stidham’s future with the team.

He could be released or traded if the Patriots can find a team willing to part ways with a late-round draft asset. In any case, New England might have only two quarterbacks on their roster.

If an intriguing, project-style quarterback goes undrafted, expect New England to bring him in as a developmental player who spends most of the season on the practice squad. In 2020, the Patriots signed J’Mar Smith, but he didn’t make the Week 1 roster. However, he’s off to a strong start in the USFL, winning the league’s first Player of the Week award.

If Jones continues to improve and stays healthy, a rookie quarterback — or Hoyer, for that matter — might never see the field.

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