The injury-depleted New England Patriots elevated wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson and linebacker Terez Hall from their practice squad for Monday night’s matchup with the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
The Patriots also signed outside linebacker Tashawn Bower to their 53-man roster from the practice squad.
Wilkerson will provide a much-needed boost to New England’s receiving corps, which is down to just three healthy members with N’Keal Harry (concussion) ruled out and Julian Edelman (knee) on injured reserve.
The 6-foot-1, 214-pound wideout has intriguing athleticism and put up gaudy numbers for FCS Southeast Missouri State, catching 71 passes for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He spent training camp with the Tennessee Titans before joining New England’s practice squad in September.
Wilkerson, who will be making his NFL debut, joins fellow wideouts Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski on the gameday roster.
This also is the first career call-up for Hall, who has been with the Patriots since May 2019. After signing as an undrafted free agent, he spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad, then landed there again this summer after being released during final cuts.
The hard-hitting Missouri product will provide depth at inside linebacker with starter Ja’Whaun Bentley sidelined with a groin injury. That extremely young position group also features hybrid safety Adrian Phillips and rookies Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Cassh Maluia.
Uche, the most likely candidate to start in Bentley’s place, made his NFL debut last Sunday. Jennings has played 106 defensive snaps, 53 of which came in one game (a Week 7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers). Maluia has only seen action on special teams.
Bower played well as an elevated practice squadder in Weeks 7 and 8.
“Tashawn?s a hardworking kid, and he?s tough,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said last week. “He?s showed a lot of competitiveness and toughness. There’s certainly things for him to work on, like any young player, but he did some positive things.”
The Patriots have ruled out Bentley, Harry, cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee), defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (shoulder, elbow, knee), tight end Dalton Keene (knee) and running back J.J. Taylor (illness). An additional 13 New England players are listed as questionable.