Patriots sign WR Dunn to approximate Hilton

Patriots sign WR Dunn to approximate Hilton
January 7, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Once in a while it happens that the Patriots have signed a player -- either to the 53-man roster or the practice squad -- and put him out on the practice field before the signing has been made official or before the new player's name has made it onto an official roster.

It happened last week when a No. 10 popped up on the practice field without notice. Turned out that was newly re-signed receiver Austin Collie.

It happened again on Thursday when the media spotted an unknown No. 84 running around the Dana-Farber Field House with the rest of the Patriots. Turns out that player was rookie receiver Reggie Dunn.

Dunn has been signed to New England's practice squad, the team announced late on Tuesday afternoon. His job? Act as Colts wide receiver TY Hilton.

Dunn was undrafted out of Utah -- where he played with Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga for two seasons -- and has bounced on and off practice squads around the league, including those of the Steelers, Packers, Browns and Dolphins.

This week he'll be mimicking Indy's most dangerous wide receiver. At 5-foot-10 and 178 pounds, Dunn is about the same size as Hilton. His speed is similarly scary. Dunn ran a 4.24 40-yard dash in college while Hilton ran a 4.34 40.

"He did a good job," Aqib Talib said of Dunn after Tuesday's practice. "He came in and ran fast, he ran through the defense, he ran under routes. He did what T.Y. Hilton does. He came out there, read what they had on the card, and ran fast and gave us a good look."

In a corresponding move, Linebacker Ja'Gared Davis has been promoted to the active roster off the practice squad. The team's 53-man roster had a spot open up with linebacker Brandon Spikes was placed on injured reserve yesterday.