OTAs & Minicamp have come and gone. The Pats now have a six week vacation before training camp opens up to the public (see you there) in late July. We'll be previewing under the radar players that will be vying to impress the team this summer in the hopes for a spot on the roster.
(UDFA = Undrafted Free Agent)
Every year after the NFL Draft, 100s of players that didn't get drafted sign with teams as UDFAs. The majority of these players receive little signing bonus and are paid about $1,000 a week once training camp begins (if they make it that far). Most teams sign 10-20 UDFAs and 1 or 2 of them may make the team. Think of it as the ultimate summer internship where one individual in September lands a $465,000 job & the dream to play in the NFL realized.
The Pats have a great history with UDFAs. They currently have the 3rd longest streak in the NFL with one making the opening day roster at 12 years and counting. Malcolm Butler, David Andrews, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brian Hoyer & more have come from the UDFA ranks. WIth a small draft class of just 4 players, the Patriots loaded up with undrafted rookies:
As one of the largest and most expensive UDFA classes in NFL history, odds are the streak of one earning a spot on the team continues.
Patriots UDFA CB Kenny Moore
Kenny Moore is a Division II All-American CB from the Valdosta State Blazers of the Gulf South Conference. Sound familiar? That conference is the home of Malcolm Butler's alma mater West Alabama. Can lightning strike twice?
Moore's story is one of intrigue and adversity. He ended up at a D2 school due to a late start to his football career. He didn't play until his track teammate convinced him to join the team his senior year of HS. His full story by Juston Lewis can be read here: Kenny Moore from Concessions to Draft
Moore is as unheralded an UDFA as they come. He doesn't have an NFL.com draft profile, isn't ranked on NFLdraftscout.com (259 CBs are ranked), and is the 94th ranked CB in Dane Brugler's NFL Draft Guide (34 CBs were drafted). He was likely one of the last players in consideration to be signed on the 90 man camp roster. Despite appearing as a longshot of longshots, Moore shined at minicamp and has the most momentum of any UDFA heading into training camp:
Already earning reps and making plays alongside veterans is a sign that Moore has emerged as a top UDFA to watch this summer. His athletic profile also compares well to the veteran CBs currently on the roster:
Moore possesses above average speed & agility (40, 3 cone, short shuttle) along with elite explosion (broad jump, vertical jump) for a potential NFL CB. As an undersized player he projects to the slot although the Pats have had success with shorter CBs on the outside in the past (Butler, Hobbs, Samuel). He will need to outperform Justin Coleman and show special teams ability in order to carve out a spot on the roster as a 6th CB.
Camp Update: 7/27/17
Kenny Moore was a standout on the first day of public training camp making plays around the ball:
Moore breaking up a pass against Malcolm Mitchell in a 2 v 2 drill: