The New England Patriots are monitoring available free agents just days before the 2014 NFL draft.
The Patriots hosted guard Davin Joseph on a free-agent visit, sources told ESPN’s Field Yates and Mike Reiss. Joseph, who was drafted No. 23 overall in the 2006 draft out of Oklahoma, was released on March 8 after spending eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Joseph, who started 16 games last season at right guard, is a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2008 and 2011). He rated negatively on ProFootballFocus.com in 2013 as he recovered from a torn patellar tendon in his right knee that kept him out for the entire 2012 season. Joseph was injured against the Patriots in a preseason game.
He signed a massive seven-year, $53 million contract with the Buccaneers before the 2011 season. Joseph’s former head coach, Greg Schiano, was spotted with the Patriots brass at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
The Patriots are expected to take an interior offensive lineman in the draft, which starts Thursday. The Patriots might be keeping their options open by hosting Joseph in case they don’t come out of the draft with a top guard.
The Patriots signed defensive end Will Smith, who’s recovering from a torn ACL, on Monday. They hosted tight end Dustin Keller, who tore his ACL, MCL and PCL during the 2013 preseason, on a free-agent visit last week.