The New England Patriots roster shuffle continues, as Paradigm Sports Management tweeted that the Patriots have signed their client Lavasier Tuinei. The wide receiver was a star for the Oregon Ducks in college, and he is heading into his second year in this league after spending parts of the 2012 season with the Seattle Seahawks practice squad. The Patriots have always had their eyes set on Tuinei, as they even worked him out last year in mid-November along with veteran returner and running back Rock Cartwright.
I’m honestly surprised the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t picked up Tuinei yet as a camp body, but maybe Chip Kelly doesn’t view him as a fit or didn’t remember Tuinei’s days with him at Oregon very fondly. Tuinei could have been a better player for the Ducks in college, but he was still good and excelled as a blocker. Bill Belichick and the Patriots don’t look at blocking as much as the run-happy Kelly does, but blocking is still an underrated asset for receivers.
Tuinei will have to do more than block, though, if he even wants to make the Patriots practice squad, as he has plenty of competition around him. Kamar Aiken and Mark Harrison are two intriguing young wideouts who look locked in for spots on the practice squad, with Aiken still hoping to make up some ground on UDFA standout Kenbrell Thompkins.
The signing of Tuinei comes after the New England Patriots released wide receivers Lavelle Hawkins (a 27-year-old with no chance of making the roster) and Perez Ashford (Northern Illinois UDFA who has done nothing at camp), and the Pats also surprisingly cut top backup guard Nick McDonald while adding a UDFA DT from Rutgers in Scott Vallone.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys have both released Lavasier Tuinei at points this offseason, so Tuinei will have to make a big impression on the Patriots. Right now, Tuinei is playing for a spot on the practice squad, and the big body at 6’4″, 220 pounds is looking to tap into his potential and become more than just a camp body. Tuinei is now the 11th receiver on the Patriots roster, and he is an intriguing player. Let’s see what he can do.