The 2022 NFL Draft is over and New England Patriots fans are understandably conflicted about how to feel about the team’s performance.
From reaching on Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange in the first round when ample linebackers and cornerbacks were still on the board, over-drafting speedy Baylor wideout Tyquan Thornton at No. 50 overall and taking two running backs, the Patriots were taken to the woodshed by analysts in their reviews.
If nothing else, the team’s lackluster showing could pave the way for their undrafted free agent class to shine during camp.
We all know Bill Belichick is renowned for finding gems in the rookie free agent market, so let’s run through the Patriots’ 2022 class of signings and determine if there are any names worth remembering for the future.
Introducing the Patriots’ 2022 UDFA class
Coby Tippett, S, Rhode Island
If the Tippett name sounds familiar, that’s because the Rhode Island product is the son of former Patriots legend Andre Tippett, who’s enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after racking up 100 sacks in 11 seasons for New England.
D’Eriq King, QB, Miami
King is by far the most recognizable name on this list, as he starred at Houston before transferring to Miami following the 2019 season. The Patriots hosted King for a pre-draft workout and the former Hurricane’s experience as both a running back and receiver make him a fun player to watch throughout camp.
Brenden Schooler, S Texas
Schooler played wide receiver at Oregon before transferring to Texas, where he made the switch to safety and made sevens tarts in 2021. With a 4.41 40 time on his resume, Schooler could carve out a role as a special teams gunner.
Kody Russey, OL, Houston
The Patriots don’t have much depth on their offensive line and Russey signs as a UDFA after starting 60 games (!) over his six-year college career. He was second-team All-AAC in 2021 and New England scouted his pro day.
LaBryan Ray, DL, Alabama
If you can believe it, the Patriots didn’t draft an Alabama player this year, so Ray marks the one and only Crimson Tide addition to the roster (for now). Ray has the versatility to play multiple positions along the defensive line, but injuries limited him to just 36 games in five seasons in Tuscaloosa.
Jake Julien, P, Eastern Michigan
With Jake Bailey due $4.058 million next season, which is the second-most amongst punters, it’s not a surprise the Patriots added Julien, who averaged 45.9 yards per kick and had 12 kicks downed inside the 20 last season.
DeMarcus Mitchell, DE, Purdue
Mitchell began his career at the junior college level before he transferred to Purdue following the 2019 campaign. The former Boilermaker had a career year in 2021, finishing fifth on the team in tackles for loss and tying Chiefs first-round pick George Karlaftis for second on the team with 4.5 sacks.
Liam Shanahan, OL, LSU
We figured we’d end with some local flavor, as Shanahan is originally from Marlborough, Massachusetts. Like so many of the Pats’ UDFA signings, Shanahan was a college transfer, spending his first three years at Harvard before switching to LSU, where he started 23 games over the last two seasons.