The New England Patriots loaded up on rookie cornerbacks this offseason.
After using their top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft on Alabama’s Cyrus Jones, the Patriots signed three cornerbacks as undrafted free agents.
We went through the Patriots’ offensive undrafted free agents Monday. Now check out the Patriots’ defensive rookie free agents.
CB Jonathan Jones, Auburn
It’s surprising Jones went undrafted after being rated as a fourth- or fifth-round selection by analysts. He has the athleticism and talent, but at 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, he’s severely undersized for the position.
Jones ran a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 1.47-second 10-yard split, 7.25-second three-cone, 4.25-second short shuttle, 36-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 3-inch broad jump. He also bench pressed 19 reps of 225 pounds.
Most cornerbacks of Jones’ height play the slot in the NFL, but his relatively slow times in the three-cone and short shuttle might have scared off teams.
Jones was a four-year starter at Auburn, where he notched 129 total tackles, seven interceptions, 24 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in 45 games.
Jones had 69 tackles, one interception and 13 passes defended as a senior. He allowed 44 receptions on 77 targets for 550 yards with two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus. He wasn’t charged with a pass interference or holding penalty all season, according to Real Football Network.
CB Cre’Von LeBlanc, Florida Atlantic
If LeBlanc was a step faster, he easily could have been a mid-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound defensive back ran just a 4.67-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March with a 1.63-second 10-yard split, 6.95-second three-cone, 4.21-second short shuttle, 34-inch vertical leap, 9-foot, 6-inch broad jump and 21 bench press reps of 225 pounds.
LeBlanc could be moved to slot cornerback or safety in the NFL based on his measurables.
He had an impressive career as a four-year starter at FAU, where he tallied 180 total tackles, three tackles for loss, six interceptions, 19 passes defended and 29 kick returns for 556 yards.
He was a team captain in 2015 and allowed just 22 receptions on 56 targets for 307 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He didn’t commit any pass interference or holding penalties as a senior.
CB V’Angelo Bentley, Illinois
Bentley is another undersized cornerback scooped up by the Patriots after the 2016 draft. The 5-foot-8, 193-pound corner also returned kicks and punts at Illinois.
He recorded 132 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, 11 passes defended, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble as a three-year starter. He returned 86 kicks for 1,860 yards with one touchdown in three seasons and 50 punts for 550 yards with one score.
He lacks elite athleticism, however, running a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in March with a 1.58-second 10-yard split, 7.22-second three-cone, 4.51-second short shuttle, 38.5-inch vertical leap, 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump and 18 bench press reps of 225 pounds.
Bentley allowed just 29 receptions on 49 targets for 310 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions as a senior.
LB C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss
Johnson played defensive end for four seasons before moving to inside linebacker as a senior. He played in 10 games, making nine starts at the new position, recording 43 tackles with three tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, one pass defended, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in 2015. He missed two games with a torn left meniscus.
Johnson missed most of the 2013 season after undergoing ankle surgery, but he notched 11.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss as a three-year starter at defensive end. At 6-foot-1, 234 pounds, he undersized to rush the passer in the NFL, but it might be his best role.
He ran a 4.81-second 40-yard dash with a 1.70-second 10-yard split and 4.52-second short shuttle while slowed by a groin injury at the NFL Scouting Combine. He ran a 7.69-second three-cone with a 27-inch vertical leap, 8-foot, 6-inch broad jump and 12 bench press reps of 225 pounds at his pro day in March.
He ranked high in Pro Football Focus’ run-stop percentage metric in 2015, making 12 stops in just 172 run snaps, missing five total tackles. He had 14 total pressures in 86 pass-rush snaps.
DT Woodrow Hamilton, Ole Miss
Hamilton started next to Arizona Cardinals first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche on the Ole Miss defensive line. Hamilton served as the Rebels’ nose tackle, notching 30 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack as a senior. He had 84 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks and one pass defended in his four-year SEC career.
Hamilton didn’t run a 40-yard dash at his pro day because of a hamstring injury, but he had a 7.90-second three-cone, 4.88-second short shuttle, 26.5-inch vertical leap, 8-foot, 10-inch broad jump and 29 bench press reps of 225 pounds at 6-foot-3, 312 pounds.
Thumbnail photo via Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports Images
Nov 29, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive back Jonathan Jones (3) intercepts the ball in front of Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Christion Jones (22) in the third quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
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