New England Patriots: Immediate Impact Rookies in 2015

7 of 7

Oct 25, 2014; Huntington, WV, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd defensive back Darryl Roberts (7) deflects a pass intended for Florida Atlantic Owls tight end Nate Terry (80) in the second quarter at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Round 6, pick 202: A.J. Derby, TE:

Derby was a quarterback who recently made the conversion to tight end. In his limited time playing tight end at Arkansas, he showed some of the physical attributes to potentially be an NFL tight end.  He has a great size and some speed and has soft hands and good power after the catch.  Derby is an intriguing prospect as he played linebacker and quarterback before converting to tight end. He started just seven games but at six-foot-four and 255 pounds is athleticism and speed leap off the tape and his understanding of defenses and the passing game should help his development.

Derby is purely a practice squad candidate at this time as he is likely a two or three year project at best. 

Round 7, pick 247: Darryl Roberts, CB:

Roberts posted off-the-chart numbers at his pro day and his athleticism leaps off the limited game tape from Marshal.  He has fantastic change of direction and speed to keep up with receivers down field. Roberts is undersized at five-foot-eleven and only 187 pounds, but he was productive against less than top-level receivers playing for Marshall. Roberts simply oozes athleticism and potential as a raw prospect.

The Patriots let their top four cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Alfonzo Dennard leave and suddenly the competition is wide open. Roberts has as much chance as anyone to play in 2015. The physical and athletic traits are there and he could be a surprise on the final 53 man roster like Malcolm Butler last year because of his raw skills.

Round 7, pick 253: Xzavier Dickson, DE/OLB:

Dickson is a good sized athlete that is not an explosive pass rusher, but he shows good fundamentals and can set the edge. Dickson most likely will have to earn a place on this team through special teams. Dickson did not start at Alabama and is another “tweener” at six-foot-three and 260 pounds. He needs to add muscle and strength to be an NFL player and have perfect technique to make it in the NFL. 

Dickson is a longshot simply to make the practice squad. If he earns a spot he could get his way on the roster as a special teams contributor.