Watch List: Patriots Find Their FB

<P>The Patriots gave indications prior to the draft that they were interested in signing a fullback to the roster. They scheduled visits with some, and went to pro days of others in an effort to determine if spending a draft pick on the position was necessary. As the final pick was sent in, it turned out; they decided to look for one in free agency.</P><P>According to reports, it looks like they found one who coach Belichick has taken a personal interest in.</P>

Watch List: Patriots find their FB
Patriots Insider Staff

 

Kyle Eckel School: Navy
Height: 5-11 Weight: 240 40 yard time: --- Year: Sr

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.

Eckel eventually chose the Patriots over the Detroit Lions. He will compete with Patrick Pass for a roster spot.

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

Related:

Undrafted fullback Eckel signs with Patriots :: Shrine Game: Final notes and rumors

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