The New England Patriots’ Week 17 matchup with the New York Jets could resemble a preseason game Sunday.
And it’s entirely OK if you don’t recognize half of the players suiting up for the Patriots. New Engalnd signed or elevated seven players off of the street or practice squad in the last week.
These are this week’s newcomers:
G ROSS REYNOLDS
Reynolds, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, will serve as one of the Patriots’ backup offensive linemen. Center David Andrews and right guard Shaq Mason will be inactive, and left tackle Isaiah Wynn is on injured reserve. That leaves Joe Thuney, Michael Onwenu, Jermaine Eluemunor, Justin Herron and James Ferentz to start.
Reynolds, Marcus Martin and Korey Cunningham will serve as backups.
Reynolds originally signed to the Patriots’ practice squad Nov. 30. He was elevated to the active roster Saturday.
C MARCUS MARTIN
Martin actually signed last week before the Patriots played the Buffalo Bills, but he was declared inactive in Week 16. Martin started 24 games with the San Francisco 49ers after being selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of USC.
He’s played just two games since 2016, however.
LB CASSH MALUIA
A 2020 sixth-round pick out of Wyoming, Maluia has played eight games this season while bouncing up and down from the Patriots’ practice squad to the 53-man roster. He was signed Saturday and might have to start at linebacker with Josh Uche on IR and Ja’Whaun Bentley, Terez Hall and Anfernee Jennings banged up.
Maluia has only played eight defensive snaps all season. The Patriots also could move an outside linebacker or safety to inside linebacker.
OLB RASHOD BERRY
Berry also was signed to the active roster Saturday. He’s played two games as a practice squad elevation this season.
The undrafted rookie out of Ohio State mostly played tight end in college. He’s been used on defense and special teams with the Patriots.
Perhaps Bill Belichick could pull a trick out of his hat and use Berry at tight end Saturday.
CB MIKE JACKSON SR.
The Patriots have 13(!) defensive backs available for Sunday’s game.
Jackson, who’s 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Miami by the Detroit Lions. The Patriots traded a 2022 conditional pick to the Lions for Jackson in August.
Jackson made plays in training camp but has spent the majority of the 2020 season on the Patriots’ practice squad. He has ideal size and speed (4.45-second 40-yard dash) for a boundary cornerback.
CB D’ANGELO ROSS
Ross has been a standout in the Patriots’ loaded secondary for the past two training camps. He’s spent two straight years on New England’s practice squad.
Ross is undersized at 5-foot-9, 190 pounds but has the versatility to play slot cornerback or safety. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of New Mexico in 2019 and ran a blazing 4.34-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
CB DEE VIRGIN
The Patriots signed Virgin on Friday. He’s spent time with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams this season. He began his career with the Houston Texans, where he signed as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama in 2017.
He’s played just two career defensive snaps and 447 on special teams since 2018.