Sunday’s New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game could feature the NFL debut of rookie linebacker Josh Uche.
The Patriots activated Uche, a 2020 second-round draft pick, off injured reserve Saturday during a flurry of roster moves.
The Michigan product has yet to appear in a game at the NFL level, sitting out New England’s season opener as a healthy scratch and missing the next five due to injury.
Athletic and explosive, Uche should add some much-needed speed to the Patriots’ linebacker corps, which has struggled as a unit. The 22-year-old could slot into the inside ‘backer role safety Adrian Phillips frequently has filled this season.
The Patriots also activated special teamer Cody Davis off IR. Defensive tackle Beau Allen and running back Sony Michel were not activated, though Michel was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list.
New England placed wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee) and rookie offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle) on IR, sidelining them for at least the next three games. With Jermaine Eluemunor landing on IR last week, the Patriots will be without two of their top four tackles for the near future.
To fill one of their newly vacant spots, the Patriots promoted D-tackle Nick Thurman from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Thurman was temporarily elevated for four of the team’s first six games, playing a career-high 23 defensive snaps in last week’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Wide receiver Isaiah Zuber and edge rusher Tashawn Bower were elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
This will be the fourth appearance this season for Zuber, who joins Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski an injury-ravaged receiving corps. Bower made his Patriots debut last Sunday, tallying three tackles against San Francisco.
The Patriots have ruled out six players for this week’s game: Edelman, Herron, receiver N’Keal Harry, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Kyle Dugger.