FOXBORO, Mass. — In typical Bill Belichick fashion, the New England Patriots head coach did not have much to say Wednesday about the two new additions to his team’s 53-man roster.
On safety Obi Melifonwu, a 2017 second-round pick who played in just five games during his season and a half with the Oakland Raiders: “He has a good skill set. He’s smart. We’ll see how it goes.”
On linebacker Albert McClellan, a longtime special teams standout for the Baltimore Ravens: “He has some experience. He’s played in the kicking game. He’s played defensively. We’ll see how it goes.”
Melifonwu, who was raised in Grafton, Mass., and played collegiately at UConn, is looking to revitalize his still-young career after a disappointing and injury-plagued stint with the Raiders. The 24-year-old is incredibly athletic and has great size for a defensive back at 6-foot-4, 224 pounds but has played just 34 defensive snaps at the NFL level, plus another 42 in the kicking games.
Special teams likely will be Melifonwu’s primary role as he begins his Patriots tenure, as New England already has three established safeties in Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon.
As for McClellan, he spent eight and a half seasons with the Ravens before being released last Tuesday. The 32-year-old annually was among Baltimore’s leaders in special teams snaps, and he also started 11 games at linebacker in 2016 before missing the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL.
Patriots linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Nicholas Grigsby both have missed games in recent weeks, so McClellan’s arrival provides that group with some additional depth.
To make room for Melifonwu and McClellan, the Patriots released defensive end Geneo Grissom and offensive lineman Cole Croston. They also reportedly signed O-lineman Matt Tobin on Wednesday after placing Brian Schwenke on injured reserve.
The 6-2 Patriots will visit the 4-4 Tennessee Titans this Sunday in their final game before their bye week.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP