Patriots sign undrafted All-American defensive end to add depth on the edge

rsz_davis_patriots_081117.jpg

Patriots sign undrafted All-American defensive end to add depth on the edge

The Patriots announced on Friday that they've added another body to their edge-defender group, which took a bit of a hit on Thursday night. 

The team picked up undrafted rookie free agent defensive end Keionta Davis and released undrafted rookie defensive back Dwayne Thomas to make room. 

Davis (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) was a two-time All-American at the University of Tennessee-Cattanooga, who finished his career with 31 total sacks. He was projected by many to be drafted in the middle-to-late rounds but went unclaimed due to a bulging disc in his neck that was found during a physical at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

It sounds as though it was a relatively unusual injury in that, according to a Times Free Press story in May, Davis had no idea anything was wrong. He finished the 2016 season as the Southern Conference defensive player of the year, he participated in the Senior Bowl, and he told doctors that he hadn't felt pain at any pain. 

NFL teams reportedly had significant interest in Davis leading up to the draft, and Bill Belichick flew to Chattanooga to conduct a private workout with Davis, the Times Free Press reported. Now Belichick will have a chance at a longer look at the first-team All-American. 

New England's renewed interest in Davis makes sense in that it could use some help on the edge. With Rob Ninkovich choosing retirement, there is an opportunity at that spot. Trey Flowers, Geneo Grissom, Kony Ealy, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise and Harvey Langi are among the players who have seen time on the outside, but question marks abound after Flowers. 

Perhaps Davis, if fully healthy, can provide the Patriots another option.

Cyrus Jones not concerned about criticism from 'fair-weather fans'

Cyrus Jones not concerned about criticism from 'fair-weather fans'

FOXBORO -- Cyrus Jones knows he's been criticized. He said on Tuesday that he doesn't care where the criticism is coming from so long as his coaches and teammates are happy with him.

"That's life," he said. "It is what it is. I know what I play the game for. I know who I play the game for. The people out there saying this and that, they're not important to me. They're not out there on the field, they're not my teammates. They're not my coaches. They're not my family. They really don't mean anything. They're fair weather fans. They're going to be with you when you're doing good, and as soon as you do something bad, they're on to the next. I've been dealing with that all my life . . .

"That goes far beyond football. You know who's in your corner. You know who's not. I don't really dwell on the people that really mean nothing to me. I don't know them and they don't know me. All they're doing is watching, spectating, criticizing. They're not Bill Belichick. They're not guys in this locker room. So those are the only people that matter when it comes to critiquing my play or whatever you want to call it."

MORE PATRIOTS

Jones returned four punts for 58 yards against the Texans on Saturday, including a 32-yarder and a 15-yarder that required him to elude multiple defenders early on. He also chose to field one punt deep in Patriots territory that resulted in a loss of three.

"That's one of those gray-area plays you just gotta use your instincts," he said. "It was a deeper punt than we anticipated . . . You just gotta use your better judgment. If it bounced and it's a dead ball right there, they still get the ball inside the 10. If I don't field it, it could bounce in the end zone. You really don't know. Just gotta judge it the best you can. The most important thing is possession."

Jones said that overall he felt like it was a positive outing. Though he has fielded kicks cleanly since the beginning of training camp -- an issue that plagued him during his rookie season -- he was in coverage for two long completions against the Jags in his team's preseason opener. Saturday against the Texans, Jones explained, was a good opportunity to build himself back up.

"It's better than negative stuff," he said. "Just using this preseason to kind of get my feet wet, get that comfort back there and gain confidence. I think that's what anybody's trying to do when they get on the field at this time . . .

"I got confidence in myself and my teammates have confidence in me, coaches got confidence in me. They know what I can do. It's just a matter of taking it day by day, focusing on the details and the little things, and going out there and getting it done and making it happen."

After Jones made his 32-yard return in Houston, he was mobbed by teammates and coach Joe Judge, picking up a player who'd experienced his share of down moments over the course of the last year.

"It just shows just how unselfish everybody is," he said. "Guys are more happy when somebody else makes a play than the person who made the play. That's just the culture of this team. Everybody wants to see each other succeed because that's only going to make the team better."

Jones insisted he's not worried about making the team when final cutdowns are made before Week 1. Under Belichick, the Patriots have never released a first or second-round pick going into his second season.

"I know what I can do, and I know what I can bring to this team," he said. 

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Quick Slants Podcast: Jerod Mayo reminisces about most talented roster he played on

quickslantspodcast_clean.jpg

Quick Slants Podcast: Jerod Mayo reminisces about most talented roster he played on

Tom Curran and Phil Perry give their first impressions from Patriots preseason games. Jerod Mayo discusses the most talented roster he had with Patriots.

Here's a rundown of the episode.

3:00 Dont’a Hightower returning to Patriots off the PUP list, will he be ready to be ‘all systems go’ going forward.

6:20 Was the eclipse worth all the hype?

10:40 Should the Patriots poor offensive line performance against Houston worry fans?

15:50 What were our impressions of Cyrus Jones against Texans

19:00 impressions of Jimmy Garoppolo so far during preseason

20:00 Which players are in danger of being cut?

36:00 Jerod Mayo tells Tom E. Curran that he needs to meditate

38:30 Jerod weighs in on whether the hit on Odell Beckham was a ‘dirty hit’

42:30 Does Jerod think that the 2013 TJ Ward hit on Rob Gronkowski was a ‘dirty hit’

43:30 Should there be an etiquette for how physical preseason games should be in the NFL?

47:00 Jerod breaks down how Bill Belichick does a different technique that most NFL teams during the draft, and how it has paid off.

51:00 Who was the most talented roster the patriots had while Jerod Mayo was playing?

54:00 Will the NFL ever turn back into the ‘old style’ of football?