One of the more notable undrafted free agent signings that the New England Patriots made was signing tight end Steven Scheu out of Vanderbilt:
Scheu played football at Evansville Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Indiana. Scheu was named to the Indiana H.S. Coaches Association Top 50 All-State team as a senior and finished with the fourth most receptions in school history with 93. He was a three star prospect coming out of high school, where he received scholarship offers from Ball State, Kansas, Miami (OH), Western Michigan, and Vanderbilt. He eventually chose Vanderbilt in Tennessee.
During his true freshman season, he was given a redshirt but impressed the coaches with his blocking and receiving abilities during practices while adding needed bulk and weight. In his redshirt freshman season, Scheu played in all 12 games, starting seven of them as he was used mostly as a blocker, finishing with only eight receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. In his sophomore season, Scheu played in all 12 games again with seven starts as mostly blocker, finishing with nine receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown.
In his junior season however, Scheu had a career year as he played and started all 12 games, with a season stat line of 39 receptions, 525 yards, and four touchdowns. Scheu had the most receptions of all tight ends in the SEC in 2014 and the second most yardage for an SEC tight end that season as well. He was named to the Associated Press First Team All-SEC and earned a Mackey Award (nation's best college tight end) watch list nomination for his senior season in 2015. As a senior, Scheu played in 11 games, starting 10 of them as he missed one game due to injury, ending up with a stat line of 27 receptions, 240 yards, and one touchdown,
According to his scouting report from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, Scheu has good ball security and good body control to make difficult catches and is smart when it comes to blocking despite his lack of needed size (6'5", 250 lbs.). Scheu ran a 4.6 forty yard dash, showing off some nice speed. He may not be as good a blocker in the NFL, but he could be a solid receiving target if he can learn to separate more on his routes. This is an ideal spot for Scheu however, as the Patriots find creative ways to get tight ends on the field. They are known for their use of two tight end sets, but Scheu will find a lot of competition for snaps and targets in 2016.
The Patriots currently have the best tight end in football on their squad in Rob Gronkowski along with Martellus Bennett, Clay Harbor, Michael Williams, second-year tight end A.J. Derby, and fellow rookie Bryce Williams. But with Bennett and Michael Williams on the last year of their contracts, Clay Harbor carrying minimal dead cap, Derby coming off a whole season on injured reserve, and Bryce Williams in the same boat as Scheu, he could be in line for a potential practice squad spot in 2016 and possibly compete for a spot on the 53 man roster in 2017. This is all assuming that he makes it out of the pre-season on the team.