The New England Patriots love linebacker/safety hybrids and they have just signed another player who could fit the bill. Former Miami Hurricanes star and four-year-starter Michael Pinckney was signed to join the Patriots’ practice squad on Friday.
Defensive tackle Xavier Williams was cut to make room for Pinckney.
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The Patriots signed former Miami Hurricanes standout Michael Pinckney. Darren Hartwell of Yahoo! Sports on the signing: The Patriots have signed undrafted free agent linebacker Michael Pinckney, who was spotted wearing No. 48 during Friday's practice session. The team released defensive lineman Xavier Williams from the practice squad in a corresponding move. The 22-year-old Pinckney, who worked out for the Patriots earlier this week, was a four-year starter at Miami (Fla.) and earned Freshman All-America honors in 2016. He underwent hip surgery in March and went undrafted this spring after not participating in the NFL Scouting Combine. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Pinckney could play in a hybrid linebacker/safety role similar to that of rookie Kyle Dugger or veteran Adrian Phillips. He also recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks as a senior for the Hurricanes in 2019.
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Who Is Michael Pinckney?
Pinckney played in 49 games over four years at Miami. He never had fewer than 60 tackles in a season, and three of his four years at The U, Pinckney had at least 11 tackles for a loss.
That includes his dominant senior season when he recorded 12.5 TFL.
Mystery Patriot solved. LB Michael Pinckney signed, per his agency. pic.twitter.com/cuIEYg240f
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 2, 2020
Pinckney also showed a penchant for blitzing as he notched 14.5 sacks in his career, including five as a senior. He spent some of the last few months rehabbing a hamstring issue, and they may have explained why he went undrafted.
That said, Pinckney’s play diagnosis, sure-handed tackling, and strength inside the box as a run defender were likely attractive to the Patriots. Williams had been called up to the active roster earlier in the season, so the Patriots’ decision to release him for Pinckney might tell you something about how they feel about the latter.
Where He Could Help the Patriots?
As a member of the practice squad, the chances of him making it onto the field anytime soon seem slight. However, there is something about Pinckney that makes me believe he’s a little more than another non-descript practice squad signing. He appears to have Patriots linebacker written all over him.
Whether it’s later in this season or sometime in 2021–assuming they retain his services–Pinckney could make an impact. Keep an eye on Pinckney’s progress and reports from Patriots training camp.
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