Watch List: Michael McGrew

The New England Patriots have signed a number of free agents to the roster to provide competition for training camp. One of the players who had a tryout with the team at their rookie minicamp, signed on hoping to make the roster. Fortunately for him, the players ahead of him haven't cemented their places on the list.Patriots Insider has teams up with, the affiliate that covers the University of Virginia, to share a little more insider info on Michael McGrew. on McGrew
By Kenny Parkhurst

Tom Brady. David Givens. These are some names you think of when referring to the late-round draft success by the New England Patriots. Five years down the road another name added to the list may be Michael McGrew, an undrafted wide receiver from the University of Virginia. McGrew worked out at a Patriots rookie mini-camp and his play was rewarded with a free agent contract.

During his senior campaign, McGrew led all Virginia wide receivers with 30 receptions for 355 yards to go along with two touchdowns. His numbers average out to 29.6 yards a game, which may not look like a lot, but is decent considering Virginia featured a run-oriented offense to go along with All-American tight end Heath Miller. After getting off to a hot start in 2005, McGrew soon cooled off. During the first four games, McGrew collected 219 yards on 13 receptions, but during the next four games he caught only four passes for 43 yards. When Syracuse came to town, McGrew recorded his season-high 97 yards on four receptions. McGrew was sidelined during the 2003 season because of a broken leg suffered in training camp. In 2002, however; he racked up 428 yards on 27 receptions for an average of 15.9 yards per catch. McGrew ranks 15th all time in the University of Virginia's history with 90 career receptions.

Coming in at 6'2", 200 pounds and running a 4.68 40-yard dash, McGrew may not be the biggest or fastest receiver, but is a very solid possession man. He comes off the line very quick and can manage the whole field very well. Many NFL draft experts have not given McGrew much of a chance to be more than a fifth receiver on a NFL depth chart. McGrew may not be that number one receiver, but the potential is there for him to work into a second or third role for the Patriots.

PI's Take:

McGrew may possess the raw ability to play well in the league, but so have others who came through camp and the Patriots allocated to NFL Europe. His signing indicates that the team feels there's enough potential to work into a spot at least on the Practice Squad. Having to bring in a guy like Kevin Kasper as a healthy body and play him his first week on the team, may not be in the plans again for 2005. Adding McGrew to the roster may indicate the front office would prefer to have someone familiar with the system rather than sign street free agents should the injury bug strike again. He has potential, possibly as the number four or five receiver behind Deion Branch, David Givens, David Terrell and the group of reserves (Tim Dwight, Bethel Johnson, P.K. Sam, Ricky Bryant, Cedric James). McGrew would fit in nicely should the Terrell experment go south. Over time, he could develop into another Givens as a posession receiver.


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