Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Patriots Sign Two Draft Picks You Forgot About/Never Heard Of
In case you're heading out to the start of Patriots training camp tomorrow morning at Gillette Stadium or just watching the highlights on TV, here's a primer on two of the more obscure players that you'll see wearing Patriots uniforms.
The Patriots signed their first two rookies from the 2011 draft class. Fifth-round pick Lee Smith, a tight end from Marshall and sixth-round pick Markell Carter, a outside linebacker/defensive end from Central Arkansas.
Selected 159th overall, Smith was given an allocation of $2.29 million. He's primarily known for his blocking abilities which means he could spell greybeard Alge Crumpler (New England's blocking tight end) while he gets in shape during training camp and the preseason.
Crumpler, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are three offensive leaders for the Pats but they also carry lesser known tight ends like Carson Butler, fellow rookie Will Yeatman (signed on Monday) and Smith. Barring a terrible camp or an injury, Smith seems to have the inside track should Belichick choose to go with four tight ends (they carried mostly three last season).
Interestingly enough, Carter agreed to a four-year deal though terms weren't disclosed. His slot where he was drafted possesses a $2.19 million allocation.
With Tully Banta-Cain gone and the team's lack of a pass rush, Carter was the only front seven draft pick for the Patriots in 2011. He has to make the transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 linebacker but you can't say the position is exactly loaded.
Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Eric Moore and Marques Murrell are the only four guys that play that vital position. Hopefully the Patriots can strike gold with Carter. It's a success if he makes the roster, let alone does anything notable in his career here.