In the least surprising development of the 2020 NFL season, the New England Patriots found another serviceable undrafted rookie cornerback.
The Patriots signed defensive back Myles Bryant out of Washington after he wasn’t selected in the 2020 NFL Draft this spring. He initially was waived and signed to the Patriots’ practice squad, but with open spots on the 53-man roster, Bryant was promoted this week.
His first assignment: Run around and pretend to be quarterback Russell Wilson as the Patriots’ starting defense prepares for the Seattle Seahawks this weekend.
“You have a guy like Myles (Bryant), who’s very slippery, very athletic and so he’s trying to imitate Russell Wilson right there with them,” Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland said Friday. “I won’t sit here and say that Myles can throw like Russ. I won’t disrespect Russ like that, and I won’t give Myles that type of credit because I’m sure he’ll try to switch his position. But, you know, he definitely gave us a great look today, and you do what you have to do to get your guys prepared.”
Bryant measured in at 5-foot-8, 183 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine this winter. He ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash with a 6.81-second 3-cone drill and 4.02-second short shuttle.
Wilson measured in at 5-foot-11, 204 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012. He ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash with a 6.97-second 3-cone drill and 4.09-second short shuttle.
So, it’s easy to see why Bryant, who played college football six miles away from Century Link Field, the Seahawks’ stadium, was the right choice to play Wilson.
Patriots cornerback and defensive captain Jason McCourty compared Bryant to another Seattle legend this week. McCourty and his twin brother, Devin, have nicknamed Bryant, “Little I.T.” after former Washington Huskies and Boston Celtics undersized guard Isaiah Thomas.
“He’s a playmaker,” Jason McCourty said of Bryant this week. “Whenever he was out on the field, not only during training camp but if he’s on the scout team, whatever he’s doing — special teams. He’s sticking out, he’s standing out. And I remember talking to him earlier in training camp and I was just like, ‘Hey, man, they watch everything here whether you’re on the starting kickoff team or you’re on the scout kickoff team or you’re giving a kick return team a look. Just make sure you go hard in everything you do to try to show them that you can play here and you can make plays. And that’s what he’s done.”
And that includes throwing the football if need be.
“So all the credit to him,” Jason McCourty said. “He studies, he puts in extra work on his body, his craft, trying to just get better as much as possible each and every day. So I’m extremely happy for him to get that opportunity and he’s worked his butt off and he’s earned it.”
Bryant is just the latest in a long line of Patriots undrafted cornerback finds. It would be almost impossible to name them all, but players like Randall Gay, Malcolm Butler, Jonathan Jones, JC Jackson, Kenny Moore, Justin Coleman and Cre’von LeBlanc got a shot with the Patriots as rookie free agents.
Bryant has made a strong impression on another Patriots defensive captain, Ja’Whaun Bentley, as well.
“He brings great energy and great technique and he’s eager to learn,” Bentley said. “That’s something you always love to have your team, especially a young rookie. I can’t wait to see how his career flourishes out because he’s definitely dynamic.”
We’ll find out how good of a job Bryant did preparing his team for Wilson when the Patriots take on the Seahawks on Sunday in primetime.