The Patriots continue to feel out the available talent on the market, trying out six players on Sunday.
New England tried out Chandler Fenner, defensive back Holy Cross; Jerry Franklin, linebacker Arkansas; Buddy Jackson, defensive back Pittsburgh; Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver Ft. Valley St.; Tyler Nielsen, linebacker Iowa; JK Schaffer, linebacker Cincinnati.
Lockette, a wide receiver, had a minimal role on the Seahawks last season before being cut by the team prior to this season. He tweeted Monday evening, "Boarding my flight I will miss seattle so much but I very honored and proud to be an ....." The Pats tryout, coupled with the timing of Lockette's Tweet could have meant he was on his way to New England. On top of that, Albany Herald reports that Seahawks wideout Golden Tate tweeted last night (and then deleted) "good luck lock, until u play us". The Pats and Seahawks play on October 14. BUT . . . Lockette just tweeted, "I am the newest member of the 49ers". So, that's that.
Fenner, a free agent rookie, was a final cutdown day casualty of the Kansas City Chiefs this year. He spent four years at Holy Cross, starting the final two seasons. He finished with 68 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass breakups in his senior year. He was also a member of the Holy Cross Track and Field team, specializing in sprints and jumps.
Franklin was undrafted, but signed by the Broncos as an rookie free agent. He was later released on the team's final cutdown day. Franklin finished his four-year career with 51 games played, 369 tackles (31 for loss), 10 sacks, and five interceptions. Franklin was the team's leading tackler last season, and played on the same defense as Patriots DE Jake Bequette.
Jackson was signed by the Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent and looked to be doing well, but was later waived by the team in August. It looks like an undisclosed injury was the reason. Jackson has some speed and according to Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com used it to impress scouts along with his leaping ability. Jackson was primarily a special teamer (kick returner) at Pittsburgh but got time at corner in his senior year, finishing with 34 tackles.
Nielsen was signed and then released by the Vikings when they trimmed their roster to 75 players. Nielsen is a player that NFL Network's Mike Mayock was particularly high on as a sleeper linebacker. Here's what Mayock said: "Nielsen is very undervalued. He played through some injuries this year. If you didnt know that, you might not like him. But I think hes one of the better special teams players in this draft who ultimately might be a starting SAM (strong side) backer in this league. And I think youll be able to get him somewhere around the fifth round.
Schaffer was cut by the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie on the final day of roster cutdowns. He was later signed days later by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the practice squad but released on September 18. Schaffer was not only Cincinnati's best tackler, but was the Big East Conference active leader in tackles, recording 100 or more tackles in three straight seasons.
(Jimmy Toscano contributed to this report)