Like plenty of other teams, the Patriots announced that they’ve reached agreement with some of their 2014 draft picks on Friday but those weren’t the only moves in New England.
The team also signed linebacker Darius Fleming, a 2012 fifth-round pick of the 49ers who was cut loose earlier in the offseason. Fleming hasn’t seen any regular season action because of torn ACLs suffered during rookie minicamp and last year’s training camp. That doesn’t make for much tape, but the Patriots have the roster space right now to see what Fleming has left in the tank.
New England also announced that they have signed four draft picks. Fourth-round running back James White, fourth-round tackle Cameron Fleming, sixth-round defensive end Zach Moore and seventh-round wide receiver Jeremy Gallon all agreed to four-year deals with the team.
White ran for 4,015 yards and 45 touchdowns on 643 carries at Wisconsin and will try to nose into the backfield mix with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, who are entering the final year of their contracts. Fleming started 39 games at Stanford, but will likely be a backup as long as Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer are healthy.
Moore had 33 sacks in 39 games at Concordia-St. Paul and you can always use another pass rusher, but it probably goes without saying that it is a long way from Concordia-St. Paul to the AFC East. Gallon was a very productive receiver at Michigan, setting the school record for single-season receiving yards and the Big 10 record for most receiving yards in a game during the 2013 season. He could factor into the mix as a slot receiver — he’s watching film of Julian Edelman and Wes Welker, as mentioned in Friday’s one-liners — for the Patriots this year.
The Patriots also signed three undrafted free agents. They kept the Rutgers pipeline flowing by adding safety Jeremy Deering, and also signed Iowa linebacker James Morris and Harvard long snapper Tyler Ott.