Patriots build practice squad depth with familiar faces


Patriots build practice squad depth with familiar faces

FOXBORO -- The Patriots built up their 10-man practice squad on Labor Day Weekend, and they did so with several familiar faces who were with the team throughout training camp. They still have one spot open after releasing defensive tackle Darius Kilgo on Monday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss.:


Here's the list . . . 

DJ Foster, RB: After another productive preseason, Foster made a run at a spot on the 53-man active roster. But with the depth the Patriots have at that position -- Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis and James White figure to receive the vast majority of snaps there this season -- Foster is an ideal p-squad candidate to back up the pass-catchers on the roster. 

Ted Karras, OL: New England's top choice to be their backup interior offensive lineman last season, Karras remains with the Patriots to begin 2017 as part of their practice squad. The second-year player out of Illinois has worked at all three interior positions for the Patriots since being selected in the sixth round in 2016. 

James Ferentz, OL: Another reserve on the interior of the offensive line, Ferentz played primarily as a center throughout training camp. The 6-foot-2, 285-pounder played in seven games last season for Denver.

Trevor Bates, LB: The University of Maine product spent last season on the Patriots practice squad and begins this season there once again as depth behind rostered off-the-ball linebackers. Bates was a core special-teamer throughout camp and also spent some time on the edge in the Patriots defense. 

Geneo Grissom, DL: A third-round pick of the Patriots back in 2015, Grissom carries special teams value because of his unique combination of size and athleticism. The Patriots seem relatively thin at defensive end to start the regular season so Grissom's presence in the locker room could prove beneficial down the line. 

Cody Hollister, WR: The receiver and special-teamer out of Arkansas lost important practice time due to injury early in camp but returned to action and flashed some ability while working with former Patriots third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. His special-teams experience gives him added value for the practice squad.

David Jones, DB: One of the more intriguing undrafted athletes the Patriots signed after the draft, the Richmond product ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and jumped 34 inches in the vertical at his pro day. He missed time due to injury in camp, but the Patriots saw enough they liked to keep him around. 

Damarius Travis, DB: At Minnesota, Travis showed a knack for making plays (83 tackles, two picks, five PBUs). He did just that early on in the preseason finale when he forced a fumble against the Giants and then recovered it himself. Primarily a safety in camp, he'll back up one of the deeper units on the Patriots roster.  

DeMarcus Ayers, WR/KR: According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Patriots signed Ayers to be their 10th man on the practice squad. A seventh-round pick of the Steelers last year, the 5-foot-9, 182-pounder could provide depth as a slot receiver and a returner in the kicking game. 


What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...