The New England Patriots have recently worked out eight players, and they have added Cyhl Quarles (per ESPN Boston) to their practice squad in a move that signifies that the Pats will continue retooling their roster.
Quarles is a 23-year-old UDFA out of Wake Forest who signed with the Baltimore Ravens and was cut during the 53-man roster crunch. He was viewed as a sleeper by a few draft experts, so it is interesting to see the Pats picking him up.
However, the Pats released tight end Alex Silvestro in order to add Quarles to the squad. I love Silvestro, so I hate having to see him go in order to sign another guy to the squad. Even though he has upside and is a favorite for quite a few fans, including myself, the team signed Michael Hoomanawanui and gave Visanthe Shiancoe the eligible-to-come-off-of-the-IR designation. There’s also the matter of Jake Ballard being able to return next year, so there wasn’t much of a point in keeping Silvestro around.
Instead, the Patriots have added the intriguing Cyhl Quarles to the roster to pair up with cornerback Malcolm Williams. But yeah, it stinks to see Silvestro on his way out.
Quarles is more of an in-the-box safety and was one of the most productive players for the Demon Deacons in college. Known for his big hits, Quarles was a big-time leader for Wake Forest and was one of the top tacklers in the ACC. His intangibles are off the charts in terms of leadership and work ethic, and he is a strong safety with terrific size at 6’3″, 213 pounds to go with a 4.6 forty.
Although Quarles can not cover at all and has below-average ball skills, he is an interesting niche player with high upside due to his intangibles and terrific ability as an in-the-box safety against the run. If you get a chance, YouTube him or whatever and check out some of the hits he delivered while with the Deacs.
I will be honest with you, his lack of ability in coverage is appalling, but, again, he is more of a niche player and can succeed in the NFL with his ability in run support if given a specific role. Overall, he’s an interesting addition to the practice squad, and I actually really like the swap despite my love for Silvestro (another high character player). The Patriots simply have a great need for Quarles than Silvestro on the practice squad.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.