For years, the Patriots have come out of training camp with an undrafted rookie or two no one spent all that much time thinking about on draft weekend. Some of them have been role players. Some have been even less than that. But some have made massive impacts that resulted in Lombardi Trophies being added to the display table at One Patriot Place.
Last year, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers were UDFA roster additions. Other undrafted free agents to make the roster and go on to successful careers include Jonathan Jones, David Andrews and Malcolm Butler. You can go all the way back to Stephen Neal for an undrafted winner that the Patriots considered a foundation piece. Personnel chief Nick Caserio referenced Neal's rise from wrestler to Super Bowl champ in his question-and-answer session with reporters late Friday night -- almost a decade after Neal's retirement.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
Point is, the hustle to sign players after the draft -- the ones not deemed valuable enough to be drafted -- matters. Here are a few names worth hustling for in New England...
For an in-depth description of each player, click on the player's name.
List updated as of Saturday 7 p.m. ET.
Anthony Gordon, Washington State. Gordon has a strong arm and was prolific at Washington State under Mike Leach. He only was a one-year starter for the Cougars but could develop into a solid QB.
Tyler Huntley, Utah. Huntley is mobile, accurate, smart, and put up good numbers at Utah. He's a bit smaller than the Patriots might like, but he could be a nice project.
Case Cookus, Northern Arizona. Cookus was a star at the FCS level and had over 12,000 career passing yards. Could the Patriots unearth a gem by targeting him?
Roland Rivers III, Slippery Rock. Another lower-level star, the Harlon Hill Trophy winner threw for 52 touchdowns last season. He may be a diamond in the rough.
James Robinson, Illinois State. Robinson put himself on the map with a strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game and a clocked a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. He's strong, athletic, and could find a home as a quality backup in the NFL.
Jamycal Hasty, Baylor. He's quick, can catch the ball, and was awarded the coveted single-digit jersey, representing character and toughness, as a part of Matt Rhule's Baylor program. He fits the mold the Patriots look for with their pass-catching backs.
J.J. Taylor, Arizona. Phil Perry called Taylor "a smaller version of Dion Lewis". Taylor is just 5-5, but if he has a Lewis-like impact, the Patriots would take that from an undrafted player.
Thaddeus Moss, LSU. The son of Randy Moss isn't the athlete his father was, but he's good at settling into zones and was productive at LSU. He could've been a mid-Day 3 pick so getting him as an undrafted free agent would be a big win.
Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt. Pinkney had a great 2018 season before regressing a bit in 2019. He's not fast at all but is big and physical, so maybe he could compete for a back-end roster spot.
Ben Ellefson, North Dakota State. Ellefson isn't much of an athlete but has 13 touchdowns the past two years for the always-competitive North Dakota State team.
Nigel Kilby, Southern Illinois. Kilby is an insane athlete with a 6-8 frame and was a monster at his Pro Day. He's reminiscent of Donald Parham, an undrafted player from Stetson who found success in the XFL last season.
Gage Cervenka, Clemson. He's a strong, former wrestling champion who converted from defense to offense early during his time at Clemson. He could join the Patriots if they want to add to their three offensive line draft picks they've already made.
Darrion Daniels, Nebraska. A big run-stopper who has been a great locker room presence during his college days.
Jordan Mack, Virginia. Mack has started since his freshman season and logged 7.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss last year.
Daniel Bituli, Tennessee. Bituli led the Volunteers in tackles for three consecutive seasons. He's highly productive and could be a good depth player.
Dante Olson, Montana. Olson had 179 tackles last year. Talk about production.
Essang Bassey, Wake Forest. Bassey had a rough showing at the Senior Bowl but he's super athletic and could emerge as a slot player for the Patriots.
Javelin Guidry, Utah. Guidry was the second-fastest man at the combine behind Henry Ruggs. His 4.29 40 time should give him a chance to be a speedy special teamer, so perhaps Belichick will want to target him for that reason.
Javaris Davis, Auburn. Another likely special teams player, Davis blazed a 40 in the 4.3-range and fits the same profile that Jonathan Jones did coming out of Auburn.
J.R. Reed, Georgia. The final man on our Top 150 Big Board is a versatile, heady player who lacks athleticism but is smart and has good instincts. He could begin his career as a special teams player and maybe eventually find a role as a top backup.