On Tuesday, the New England Patriots reportedly brought a group of free agent kickers in for workouts. One day later, their focus was on fullbacks.
With Jakob Johnson joining James Develin on injured reserve earlier this week, the Patriots hosted tight end/fullback Orson Charles, fullback Ricky Ortiz and running back/fullback George Aston for workouts Wednesday, according to a report from ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Charles, 28, is the most experienced player in that group. He’s bounced around the league since being drafted in the fourth round in 2012, appearing in games for the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. The Georgia product spent the tail end of the 2019 preseason with the Denver Broncos before being released during final roster cuts.
Ortiz was the Atlanta Falcons’ primary fullback last season, appearing in 12 games with nine starts after spending most of his rookie year on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. The Falcons waived him with an injury settlement last month.
Aston, an undrafted rookie out of Pitt, briefly crossed paths with Charles in Denver this summer. He was believed to have a solid shot of cracking the Broncos’ 53-man roster after starting fullback Andy Janovich suffered an injury during the preseason, but ultimately fell victim to final cuts.
Following Johnson’s move to IR on Monday, the Patriots are preparing to enter a game without a true fullback on their roster for the first time since 2015, though newly signed tight end Eric Tomlinson does have some experience there. New England will visit Tomlinson’s former team, the New York Jets, on Monday night.