Patriots Sign ‘Forgotten’ Former Florida WR

Getty Josh Hammond

The New England Patriots are still shuffling their roster and depth chart. The faces that will make up the team’s 53-man roster aren’t certain, but we can add a new name and face to the mix regarding the wide receiver position.

The Patriots signed former Florida Gators wide receiver and Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad player Josh Hammond, per Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed.

Hammond, who just turned 24 on July 24, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent when he went unselected in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 184-pound receiver has only played 15 snaps in the NFL (all with the Jaguars this past season). Hammond has yet to record a reception or target, and two of the 15 snaps he has played came on special teams.

However, the Patriots saw enough of Hammond during a workout on July 28 to sign him to a deal. In college, Hammond was often overshadowed by his Gators teammates: Van Jefferson, Tyrie Cleveland, and Freddie Swain. All three men, Jefferson (Rams), Cleveland (Broncos) and Swain (Seahawks), are on NFL rosters.

Because those three received more attention with the Gators program, Hammond was referred to as the “forgotten Florida receiver” by Pro Football Network’s Andrew DiCecco. In four years at Florida, Hammond recorded 87 receptions for 1,138 yards and 6 TDs.

Hammond is hoping to make himself a bit more memorable with the Patriots. It won’t be an easy assignment.

The Patriots WR Room Will Be Competitive

Even before DeVante Parker began dazzling training camp crowds with contested catches, he was the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver. He’s only further solidified himself in that role since training camp got underway this week. Behind him are veterans Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne. Those three receivers are seemingly the only ones on the roster with roles etched in stone.

From there, New England has promising rookie Tyquan Thornton. He boasts arguably the most field-stretching speed. Considering the Patriots used a second-round pick on him this spring, the team is invested in his development. On the next levels at the position, New England also has Tre Nixon, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR-RB hybrid Ty Montgomery, Kristian Wilkerson, and Nelson Agholor.

New England also welcomed in former Division II star wideout Andrew Jamiel for a tryout. The Patriots are still looking for depth and contributors at WR, thus Hammond has his work cut out for him.

Patriots Notes and Quotes

Raekwon McMillan: “I’m Glad to Have My Peace Back”

Patriotsl linebacker Raekwon McMillan had some solid momentum going around this time last year. He looked to have a good chance to make the 53-man roster. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL that forced him to miss the entire 2021 season.

New England’s coaching staff liked what they saw in McMillan and kept him heading into the 20ss season, and he’s now healthy and ready to get back on the field.

“It’s a blessing to be out here with the guys,” McMillan said, speaking to the media at training camp on Friday, July 29. “[Ja’Whaun] Bentley, [Matthew] Judon, some of the guys on defense, [Davon] Godchaux, [Christian] Barmore — I could name everybody on defense. It’s just a blessing to see their smiles out there making plays with them and playing football again. This is where I found my peace at, so I’m glad to have my peace back.”

The Patriots and their fanbase will be at peace if McMillan can help to solidify a unit that will be seeing a ton of turnover in 2022. New England’s defense won’t have Dont’a Hightower, KYle Van Noy, or Jamie Collins, a trio of experienced players who New England moved on from in their attempts to get younger and faster on defense.

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