FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots selected nine players in the 2014 NFL Draft. Just one remains on their roster.
Offensive tackle Cameron Fleming signed with the Dallas Cowboys last month, leaving running back James White as the lone member of that draft class left in New England.
“It’s definitely tough to see guys go, especially guys who you came in with,” White said Thursday. “I mean that’s the NFL. It’s a business. Guys are going to come and go. Most of the guys are still on football teams now, so just wish those guys the best of luck. I’m just blessed to still have the opportunity to play this game.”
Dominique Easley, New England’s first-round pick in 2014, has been with the Los Angeles Rams since 2016. Second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo, of course, is plying his trade in San Francisco following his trade to the 49ers last year. Sixth-rounders Jon Halapio and Zach Moore are with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, respectively. Bryan Stork (fourth round), Jemea Thomas (seventh round) and Jeremy Gallon (seventh round) all are out of the league.
White, a fourth-round selection, signed a three-year contract extension last offseason. Had he not, he would have become an unrestricted free agent last month.
“It was definitely a blessing to be fortunate to have another opportunity, but at the same time, nothing is guaranteed,” the 26-year-old. “You still have to come out here and work. It’s a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league so you’ve got to go out and prove yourself every day. So I just try to not take anything for granted and be the best person I can be every time I step in this building.”
The Patriots have signed four other players from the 2014 draft class this offseason, adding wide receiver Jordan Matthews, running back Jeremy Hill, tight end Troy Niklas and offensive lineman Luke Bowanko.
Hill will compete for a roster spot in a Patriots backfield that no longer features leading rusher Dion Lewis.
“I met (Hill) at the combine,” White said. “We came out the same year. I’d known him a little bit through (Cincinnati Bengals running back) Giovani Bernard because they were teammates too, but he’s a good dude. He’s had a lot of success in this league. Happy to have him here. He’ll help us compete and win some football games.”
White, the Patriots’ top pass-catching back in each of the last three seasons, played in 14 regular-season games in 2017, carrying the ball 43 times for 171 yards while catching 56 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for a touchdown in each of New England’s three playoff games and also caught a touchdown pass in the divisional round.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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