Patriots Sign Undrafted Defensive Back out of Michigan: Report

New England Patriots

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The New England Patriots will be looking to make yet another undrafted free agent into a star.

Brad Hawkins had a tryout with the Patriots on Monday per the NFL transaction wire. According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, New England signed Hawkins after the tryout.

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Hawkins, 24, went undrafted out of Michigan after appearing in 56 games and making 31 starts with the Wolverines. A former wide receiver, Hawkins finished his collegiate career with 178 tackles, eight pass deflections, and two forced fumbles.

The defensive back also played East-West Shrine Bowl prior to being drafted but he was waived by the Atlanta Falcons in July.

Who Else Tried out on Monday?

New England also had Jalen Elliott, Devin Hafford, and Daniel Wright in for workouts according to the NFL transaction wire.

Elliott, 24, spent the past two seasons with the Detroit Lions after arriving as an undrafted rookie in 2020. This meant that senior football advisor and offensive line coach Matt Patricia got a look at the defensive back during his stint as a head coach of the Lions.

Hafford, 24, had been signed as part of New England’s latest undrafted class. The Tarleton State product was then waived before organized team activities in May.

During his college career, Hafford played in 56 games and tallied 243 tackles, 12 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. As a redshirt senior in 2021, Hafford picked off six passes.

Wright, 23, earned an invitation to rookie minicamp with the Falcons after going undrafted out of Alabama in 2022. His stay with the Crimson Tide featured 59 games across five seasons. It brought a total of 115 tackles, one sack as well as two interceptions returned for 65 yards and one touchdown.

Tuesday Training Camp Notes

Tyquan Thornton continues to make a name for himself at Patriots training camp. He did that once again when making an extremely athletic catch on Tuesday.

“Tyquan Thornton made an impossible over shoulder catch down right side on a throw from Mac Jones in 1-on-1s,” NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran stated on Twitter. “Ball coming in with minimal arc directly over helmet and Thornton contorted and leaned back to have it fall in bucket while going down. Arrow pointing up”

Thornton has been receiving a ton of praise from his new teammates. Besides saying that he is fast, Kendrick Bourne told media members on Saturday about Thornton’s mentality and how he acts in the locker room.

“Very cool, man. Laid back. Got charisma. Got swag to him, man,” Bourne said. “Fits in well. He’s a learner. He wants to learn. He wants to grow and that’s the biggest thing. He’s got a lot of potential.”

Even outside of New England, Thornton is getting noticed. ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler selected Thornton as one of three rookie receivers who could have an immediate impact this season.

“Tyquan Thornton, he was considered a surprise second-round pick,” Fowler said. “But talking to some people and some teams who interviewed him, they’re not as surprised. He was very sharp in team interviews. He’s been good in the Patriots’ film room already – understands passing concepts.

“They have a crowded room at receiver with four or five position players, but Thornton with that 4.2 [40-yard dash] speed should be able to crack in somewhere.”

So it will be interesting to see if Hawkins can become another former Michigan man to make the regular season roster, but Thornton’s spot is guaranteed. Patriots fans will be hoping that he does indeed make an impact in 2022 and quickly builds chemistry with Mac Jones.







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