New England Patriots defensive lineman Keionta Davis already has a big fan in his new head coach.
Davis only signed with the club on Friday, but has been on the radar much longer. Patriots coach Bill Belichick revealed Monday that he had was personally scouting the undrafted free agent from Tennessee-Chattanooga months ago, and sounds excited about the prospect’s potential.
“We’ve done quite a bit of work on him,” Belichick said, according to NESN’s Doug Kyed. “I worked him out at Chattanooga myself in March. I mean, he’s a good player. I don’t think he’s any secret. We were able to add him to our roster. We’ll just go forward with it and see how it goes.”
Davis was projected to be a mid-to-late-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but teams passed due to a bulging disc in his neck. Obviously, New England feels good enough about the injury to give him a look now.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year from the Division I FCS Southern Conference, David had 31.0 career sacks in college, including 10.5 senior. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 271 pounds.
What it means for the Patriots
Davis has yet to practice, indicating he may not yet be cleared from his injury. While that will make it difficult to compete for a roster spot, the rookie might make for a nice stash for New England.
With the retirement of Rob Ninkovich, Patriots defensive ends Kony Ealy and Trey Flowers become the top defensive ends on the depth chart, and Ealy is a free agent in 2018. Even if Davis doesn’t play a down this season, he could work his way into the mix by next year.
Belichick seems intrigued by Davis, so it would seem he has a lot going for him already.