New England Patriots Analysis: Penn State UDFA duo


The New England Patriots have been extremely busy filling things out by signing a variety of undrafted free agents, and they picked up two Penn State Nittany Lions players in center Matt Stankiewitch and cornerback Stephon Morris. The Patriots were expected to add some offensive linemen, and Stankiewitch was one of a few interesting undrafted free agent signings at the position made by the Pats. However, the Patriots never drafted an actual offensive lineman, but it’s not like they need to given he talent at the position and the ability of Dante Scarnecchia to develop linemen.

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Stankiewitch has the ability to play both guard and center, and those are the kinds of players the Patriots want to have on the interior of the offensive line- guys with versatility. He is a very notable free agent signing for the Patriots, because Stankiewitch was a Rimington Trophy finalist, 2013 NFL Combine invite, and earned some solid grades from analysts. He is a lock for the practice squad, in my opinion, and could be the next solid backup center in Foxboro if all goes well in his development. Stankiewitch does a great job as a run blocker, and I think he’ll end up being a very good utility lineman for the Pats.

I expect the Patriots to continue to go after Penn State players, especially in undrafted free agency, and this could become somewhat of a Rutgers pipeline for the Pats with Bill O’Brien leading the way in Happy Valley (he is such a great college coach, makes us Pats fans proud to see him have success at PSU).

Anyway, Morris is a decent UDFA CB prospect who has a shot at making the practice squad. Morris has sub-4.4 speed, and that’s always an asset, especially at the cornerback position. Morris has almost no ball skills and rarely ever picks off a pass, but he is the kind of run-stopping cornerback that Bill Belichick likes. At Penn State, Morris racked up tackles for loss and was a solid corner for the Nittany Lions. He comes with no fanfare due to his inability to intercept passes, but Morris is a speedy CB but also just 5’8″. I don’t know where or how he fits, because Morris is just a potential project player for the Pats.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.