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.