The New England Patriots were one of three teams who expressed interest in former Connecticut fullback Deon Anderson, PatriotsInsider.com has learned.
Anderson, who projects as a true fullback/H-back at the NFL level, rushed 23 times for 78 yards and also caught 14 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns during his senior season with the Huskies.
New England's interest in Anderson may be a result of their situation with tight end / fullback Garrett Mills. Selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft, Mills appeared briefly at Patriots training camp before being placed on injured reserve for the start of the 2006 season. Thought to have great upside potential as a hybrid H-back for the Patriots, Mills disappeared at camp with a mystery injury and was last seen as a reserve list addition.
With the Patriots recent signing of FB Heath Evans to a new deal, it wouldn't appear that New England is looking for a blocking fullback. Their other fullback, Patrick Pass, is a free agent. Pass, who missed most of last season with a hamstring injury, has received initial interest from a number of teams and will likely play elsewhere in 2007.
Anderson has been scouted by a number of other teams, including the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets. Interest in him appears genuine with NFL teams recognizing the importance of having a fullback who can do more than just block.
Anderson is rated as the third best fullback available by draft site nfldraftscout.com, and is listed as one of the better free agent prospects by TFY Draft Preview. Anderson will likely be available as a late second day pick or undrafted free agent.
Be sure to check back as PatriotsInsider.com will continue to keep you updated on prospects the Patriots are scouting as the 2007 Draft approaches.
Deon Anderson Bio
2005: Not with the team, addressing personal matters…Returned to school in January and participated in spring drills.
2004: Appeared in all 12 games, starting contests vs. Boston College, West Virginia and Rutgers... Carried the ball 22 times on the year for 99 yards while catching 14 passes for 133 yards.
2003: Started five games and appeared in all 12…Started every game which UConn opened in a personnel package that included a fullback…Carried the ball 35 times for 124 yards on the year while making 15 catches for 148 yards and his first career receiving touchdown…Led UConn with 10 special teams tackles, five of them solo.
2002: Played in all 12 games as a true freshman and was UConn's starting fullback in each of the six games that UConn opened with a fullback...Gained 119 yards on 34 carries with one touchdown while also catching five passes for 12 yards...A solid blocker and key performer on special teams, who was effective with the ball...Led the team with nine special teams tackles (seven solo)...Was dropped for a loss just four times on 34 carries.
High School: Standout three-sport performer at Hope High School in Rhode Island...Prepped at Avon Old Farms under head coach Kevin Driscoll...All-New England and All-Conference selection in football...Team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year...All-America wrestler, earning state and New England titles as a junior...Finished fourth in the shot put in New England.
Be sure to check out other Draft Prospects as news about them becomes available. Talk about the 2007 NFL Draft prospects with your fellow fans on the Patriots Draft Board
Roy Philpott of TheRanchReport.com contributed to this article.