The announcement that a pair of former Florida players signed their deals was expected this week after reports surfaced that they agreed to terms over the weekend. Wide receiver Chad Jackson and linebacker Jeremy Mincey, both represented by the same agency, had their deals made official on Monday.
Two other draft picks, tight end David Thomas and kicker Stephen Gostkowski also signed their deals on Monday. The team has now signed 9 of their 10 picks from the 2006 NFL Draft. Only Laurence Maroney remains unsigned.
In addition to the draft class signings, the Patriots added free agent wide receiver Keron Henry.
WR Chad Jackson:
Jackson was the Patriots second-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (36th overall). He reportedly signed a four-year deal, although terms were not released.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 215-pound former Gator played under head coach Urban Meyer at Florida. In the high-powered Meyer offense, Jackson managed 120 receptions for 1,586 yards and 16 touchdowns during his career. In 2005 Jackson tied a school record with 88 receptions for 900 yards scoring nine touchdowns earning a honors as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the top receiver in the nation.
A former special team's participant in Florida, Jackson spent some time returning punts at the Patriots minicamp. Not well known for his receiving ability, Jackson demonstrated both his good hands and athleticism by outleaping defenders and making tough catches on in traffic. He is expected to compete for the No 2. receiver position opposite Deion Branch.
LB Jeremy Mincey:
Mincey was the one of the team's sixth-round picks(191st overall). Mincey reportedly signed a three-year deal, although terms were not released.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 260-pound former Gator was a two-year starter while at Florida. A transfer from Butler County Community College in Kansas, Mincey earned first-team all-conference honors before transferring to Florida for his junior and senior seasons.
A former defensive end in college, Mincey has the prototypical size the Patriots like to see at the outside linebacker position. He lined up as an outside linebacker during the team's recent minicamps. He is expected to add depth at the outside position vacated by longtime former Patriot Willie McGinest.
TE David Thomas:
Thomas, the Patriots third-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (86th overall), has also signed with the team.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound former Texas Longhorn is the team's third tight end on the depth chart. Thomas, more of a pass catcher than a blocker, is expected to fill in for the departed Christian Fauria.
K Stephen Gostkowski:
Memphis kicker Stephen Gostkowski is the last of the second day picks to sign. The Patriots selected Goskowski with their second fourth-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft (118th overall).
A four-year starter for the Tigers is known for his accuracy within the 40-yard line and strong leg used for kickoff duties. He earned all C-USA first team honors in 2004 and 2005 and All-conference special team's player of the year in 2005. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound kicker finished his Memphis career with 369 points managing to convert 70 of his field goal attempts.
Gostkowski will compete with veteran kicker Martin Gramitica for placekicking honors for the Patriots. Gramatica was out of football in 2005 due to injury. He appeared fully recovered from the injury during the team's recent minicamps.
WR Keron Henry:
The Patriots signed free agent wide receiver Keron Henry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 6-foot-1, 222-pound former quarterback turned wideout recorded 102 receptions with Connecticut for 1,615 yards. Originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints, Henry spent time on the practice squad before eventually being waived. Signed as a free agent on January 12, 2006 by the San Diego Chargers, Henry was allocated to NFL Europe. The Chargers released Henry June 1, 2006.
Henry is expected to provide additional camp competition at the receiver position for the Patriots. He has the size New England is looking for after watching David Givens and Andre Davis leave via free agency.
OT Jon Doty
The New England Patriots announced the release of offensive tackle Jon Doty. The 6-foot-7, 320-pound former Kansas State product was signed by the Patriots as a free agent June 8, 2006.
Originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers in 2005 Doty was released by Carolina added to the New York Giants practice squad. Competing as a reserve lineman for the Patriots he was considered a long shot to make the final roster. According to one source, Doty failed his pre-camp physical.
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