The New England Patriots’ initial practice squad consisted almost entirely of players who were with the team in training camp.

But there was one exception.

One of the 15 players New England signed to its P-squad after final roster cuts was tight end Pharaoh Brown. Along with fellow practice squadder Matt Sokol, Brown will provide depth behind top options Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki.

Wednesday’s practice was Brown’s first as a Patriot, but he does have a prior connection to New England’s coaching staff. The 29-year-old briefly played for offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in 2020 before O’Brien was fired as Houston Texans head coach four games into that season.

Story continues below advertisement

The 2020 campaign was the best of Brown’s career to date. He was Pro Football Focus’s seventh-highest-graded tight end that year, grading out as the fourth-best run blocker and 10th-best pass blocker.

A backup tight end with solid blocking chops should be valuable for the Patriots, as Henry and especially Gesicki both are known more for their pass-catching abilities.

Brown never has been much of a receiving threat, catching 51 passes for 478 yards and two touchdowns in 55 career games. He split last season between Houston and Cleveland, totaling 12 catches for 117 yards, and spent the preseason with the Indianapolis Colts, who released him during final cuts.

Story continues below advertisement

Here is New England’s full practice squad, with 15 of the 16 spots filled as of Thursday morning:

QB Bailey Zappe
QB/WR Malik Cunningham
RB/WR Ty Montgomery
LB Calvin Munson
RB Kevin Harris
LB Joe Giles-Harris
S Joshuah Bledsoe
TE Matt Sokol
OL Andrew Stueber
OL Kody Russey
WR Thyrick Pitts
P Corliss Waitman
OL James Ferentz
LB Ronnie Perkins
TE Pharaoh Brown

It’s possible one or more of those players will be added to the 53-man roster in the coming days, as the Patriots will have one open spot after moving wide receiver Tyquan Thornton to injured reserve.

The Patriots will open their season on Sept. 10 at home against the Philadelphia Eagles. New England’s over/under win total for the 2023 season currently is 7.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Story continues below advertisement

Featured image via Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports Images