Sep 21, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; Maine Black Bears wide receiver Derrick Johnson (8) is tackled by Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Collin Ellis (45) and cornerback Nick VanHoose (23) during the second quarter at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots Sign Former Maine Standout Derrick Johnson

Pats Ink Undrafted Rookie

Reports from multiple sources, namely Field Yates of ESPN Boston, have revealed that the New England Patriots’ new undrafted rookie addition, wide receiver Derrick Johnson from the University of Maine.

Johnson flaunted skills at his pro day earlier this month, scoring a 4.47 40-yard dash time, 6.60-second three-cone drill and 4.20-second short shuttle with a 10-foot-2 broad jump and 33-inch vertical leap, according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com.

In his senior year at Maine, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Johnson made 60 receptions for 603 yards (leading the team) and two touchdowns.

He will compete for a spot on the squad, battling 11 receivers in the process. Michigan man Jeremy Gallon, the Patriots’ 7th round draft pick, will contend to make the 53-man crew as well, and your usual suspects–sophomore wideouts Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins–will try to use their experience in the NFL to outlast the rookies.

This signing epitomizes how New England’s staff likes to approach the wide receiver position. Basically, from their perspective, the best way to find quality depth in pass catchers comes in testing numbers. We’ve seen them overloading WR’s in years prior, and Thompkins, undrafted out of Cincinnati, was the payoff last season. The 25-year-old found himself on the regular season field as a top-3 receiver, helping out Tom Brady and the offense.

Nonetheless, there isn’t a lot known about Johnson’s style, besides his notable speed. But once training camp rolls around, spectators will get to see what he really brings to the Pats. Right now, guessing Johnson’s role, it’s safest to say that he’s trying for special teams action, probably as a kick/punt returner. But then again, injuries can suddenly occur and opportunities can arrive. Pay attention to this youngster in training camp.

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