The New England Patriots used the undrafted free-agent signing period to fill major needs on their depth chart after the 2014 NFL draft concluded.
The Patriots signed East Carolina tight end Justin Jones, Oklahoma running back Roy Finch, Bowling Green tight end Tyler Beck, Delaware cornerback Travis Hawkins, North Carolina State tight end Asa Watson, Michigan linebacker Cameron Gordon, Mississippi State linebacker Deontae Skinner, Indiana running back Stephen Houston and Oklahoma State safety Shamiel Gary as undrafted free agents, the team announced Monday.
Jones is 6-foot-8, 274 pounds and sat out the 2013 season because of academic issues. He ran a 4.90-second 40-yard dash and had a 6.88-second three-cone and 38-inch vertical leap at Detroit’s Regional Scouting Combine in March. The tight end caught 25 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.
Finch had 262 career carries with the Sooners for 1,412 yards with six touchdowns. The 5-foot-7, 177-pound running back also had 58 catches for 442 yards with two touchdowns.
Finch also returned 43 kicks for 1,099 yards with a touchdown during his four-year career. He ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March, with a 7.07-second three-cone and 4.25-second short shuttle.
Beck caught 10 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in 2013. The 6-foot-3, 252-pound tight end ran a 4.81-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March.
Hawkins transferred from Maryland after the 2010 season. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound corner ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and a 6.80-second three-cone at his pro day in March.
Hawkins had four interceptions with the Fightin’ Blue Hens in 2013. He also was used as a kick returner.
Watson is former Patriots first-round draft pick Ben Watson’s brother. He caught 24 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown in 2012. The 6-foot-2, 239-pound tight end ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash and a 7.00-second three-cone at his pro day in March.
Gordon ran a 4.72-second 40-yard dash and had a 6.74-second three-cone and 4.28-second short shuttle. The 6-foot-3, 237-pound linebacker recorded five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in 2013.
At 6-foot-1, 250 pounds, Skinner ran a 4.81-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March, with a 7.18-second three-cone, 4.42-second 20-yard shuttle, 31-inch vertical leap and 9-foot-9 broad jump. The linebacker recorded 64 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack in 2013.
Houston ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March, with a 7.07-second three-cone and 4.23-second short shuttle. His 40-inch vertical leap and 11-foot broad jump are elite explosion numbers. The 5-foot-10, 225-pound running back caught 65 passes for 658 yards in his three years with the Hoosiers. He also ran for 2,304 yards on 424 carries and scored 25 touchdowns.
Gary ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at 6 feet, 205 pounds at his pro day in March, with a 7.44-second three-cone, 4.35-second short shuttle, 10-foot-3 broad jump and 35.5-inch vertical leap. The safety had six sacks in four seasons split between Wyoming and Oklahoma State.
The Patriots also signed versatile Rutgers defensive back Jeremy Deering, according to a source, but the transaction hasn’t been made official yet.