The New England Patriots liked Harvey Langi enough to draft him. But find out how timing worked in their favor, allowing them to still get a player they strongly desired.
Earlier in the week, I discussed what undrafted free agents could make the New England Patriots this season. With the team’s rookie mini camp kicking off on Friday and running through Sunday, former BYU linebacker Harvey Langi will be watched very closely.
Langi was the most sought-after UDFA after he was not selected in last weekend’s NFL Draft. Despite not getting picked, he was quickly picked up by the Patriots, getting a reported $115,000 in guaranteed money. That is the most money given to any UDFA this year.
New England’s love for Langi goes back to 2015 though, according to FOX Sports analyst Brady Poppinga, another former BYU linebacker. Poppinga mentioned Langi in an August 2016 radio interview. He was not shy in detailing just how highly head coach Bill Belichick thought of him at the time.
Langi has enjoyed quite the journey so far in making it to the NFL. He converted to linebacker from running back as a sophomore in 2014 after transferring from Utah to BYU. The 24-year-old went on a two-year church mission between his freshman and sophomore seasons and performed very well as a junior starter in 2015. As a senior in 2016, his production fell off a bit, but he was still projected to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round by NFL.com.
So what happened? Langi may not have been considered to be a slam dunk like former BYU players such as Ezekiel Ansah and Kyle Van Noy because of his limited experience on defense and some injury concerns. Ansah and Van Noy were both selected by the Detroit Lions in the first and second rounds, respectively, of consecutive NFL Drafts (2013 and 2014). Van Noy was later dealt to New England by Detroit prior to last year’s trade deadline.
The Patriots had just four picks in this year’s NFL Draft. So they made the most of the situation and were more than happy to sign Langi as an UDFA. He had to like that result as well in going to the defending Super Bowl champions, and the amount of guaranteed money they gave him proves their commitment. In other words, he seems to be a pretty good bet to make the team.