Patriots signed former teammate of Matthew Judon during free agency in March

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Patriots made an under-the-radar free agent signing at the end of March when they brought in linebacker Chris Board, who started his career with the Baltimore Ravens and last played in Detroit for the Lions. 

Board went undrafted in 2018 before being signed by the Ravens as a free agent and playing in every game during his rookie season. He spent his first four seasons in Baltimore before playing in Detroit last year.

The six-year veteran linebacker spends a majority of his time on special teams, recording at least 80 percent of his snaps over the last three years on special teams, and it’s not crazy to assume he’ll do the same with the Patriots. 

Board ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds at his pro day at North Dakota State, where he won three FCS Division I Championships during his college career. He was a starter at both insider and outside linebacker as well as holding down a long-time spot on the kickoff team. 

The allure for Board to sign with New England was due to Bill Belichick and a comment he made about him last season when the Patriots hosted the Lions in Week 5.

"Board, that's the best special teams player we'll play against all year. He's a great, great player."

Board also reunites with his former teammate from Baltimore and someone he became friends with during his few introductory years in the NFL, Matthew Judon.

"I FaceTimed him before I signed to just get a feel for what he thought. He spoke nothing but high things about the organization and just wanted me to come here, for sure. So that definitely was a factor, as well, in getting me to come."

It’s worth mentioning that since Judon has been in New England, he’s thrown his hat into the recruiting ring and hasn’t been successful until Board jumped on board. 

Board is an excellent addition for special teams, and just being the prototypical Bill Belichick player, he can mold into the next All-Pro linebacker, similar to Kyle Van Noy in many ways. Ironically enough, Van Noy came to New England after a stint in Detroit.