The New England Patriots might need to show some creativity to find a role for undersized undrafted free-agent Roy Finch, but he could be worth it.
Finch measured in at under 5-foot-6 1/2 at his Oklahoma pro day in March, weighing 177 pounds — though he’s listed at 5-foot-7, 167 pounds on the Patriots website — which is severely undersized for an NFL running back. Finch is open to increasing his versatility in the NFL, however.
“Pretty much anything — slot receiver, halfback, kickoff return, punt return — you know, explosive positions where the ball can be in my hands,” Finch said Thursday at Gillette Stadium when asked what role he would play with the Patriots. “I’m just excited to learn. There’s a lot that I need to learn that I didn’t get taught that our coaches are teaching us now.”
Finch got just 320 touches during his four-year career with the Sooners, totaling 1,854 yards with eight touchdowns. His best season came in 2011, when he had 111 carries for 605 yards with three touchdowns and 34 receptions for 296 yards. His lack of offensive touches inspired Rotoworld.com’s Josh Norris to front a #FreeRoyFinch movement on Twitter.
Finch’s best bet at a spot on the Patriots’ roster might be as a returner. Finch returned 43 kicks for 1,099 yards and a touchdown at Oklahoma. He has 4.50-second 40-yard-dash speed and 7.07-second three-cone-drill agility. The Patriots lost their kick returner in free agency when LeGarrette Blount signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Based on Finch’s impressive highlight reel, toughness and balance doesn’t seem to be an issue for the undersized rookie, no matter where he’s lined up on the field.
Finch has an uphill battle to make his mark in the NFL given his size, but the Patriots have shown a willingness to take on smaller players through the years.
“You have to take advantage of anything that you can,” Finch said when asked if he uses his lack of size to hide behind offensive linemen. “That comes with anything, as a player, a reporter, whatever.”