List: Patriots find their FB
Patriots Insider Staff
In seven rounds of this week's NFL Draft, the Patriots had the option of choosing a Fullback with their pick. They had a total of ten picks at one point, with nine available to choose a fullback. By all accounts, there were at least a half-dozen fullbacks with scouting grades listed as being draft-worthy players. In fact there were five fullbacks drafted in 2005, just not any by New England.
Through the first day, the Patriots draft strategy was slowly coming into focus. They had drafted for future potential and traded down for more choices in next year's draft. With 2005 widely considered a weak draft, the New England found value where they could or traded the pick away.
Of the fullbacks the Patriots had taken reportedly worked out or interviewed, none were rated higher than second day picks at best, for instance, Jon Goldsberry, who was one player the Patriots had an interest in. Others were considered long shots to get drafted, for example: UMass FB, Rich Demars.
So on Monday the Patriots found a fullback who fit their profile. They agreed to terms with him in time for off-season workouts on Thursday.
Kyle Eckel, 5-11, 240 from Navy, wasn't drafted, but not due to some perceived on the field deficiency. Eckel had other issues that caused his stock to drop. Rated close to Goldsberry, Eckel's stock fell because teams were uncertain of his commitment to the Navy and how that might hinder his ability to be on the field.
New England felt like the chance was worth taking and offered Eckel an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. In fact, according to reports out of Maryland, Belichick called Eckel personally to indicate his level of interest in the draft prospect.
"Coach Belichick called Kyle numerous times to express New England's interest. He thinks Kyle can compete for the No. 1 job right away," Eckel's agent told The Capital, a local paper.
"Kyle is very excited about the opportunity to join a great franchise like New England. We heard from several teams interested in signing Kyle and felt New England was the best fit," said Kennedy.
More on Eckel can be found here:
Scouting Report: Kyle Eckel
Search All Stories: "Kyle Eckel"
NFL 2005 Combine: Scout Combine Info
All FB Rankings by Scout: All FB Rankings
Official Navy Bio: Navy Midshipmen
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