Training camp is officially underway for the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean the organization is done adding new faces.
By: Peter Elliott – Lead NFL, MLB, and NCAA writer – @PelliottSports
The team officially announced the signings of two New England newcomers, former Jaguars wide receiver Tony Washington and rookie defensive end Caleb Kidder, who went unselected in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Montana.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) July 27, 2017
Entering his third NFL season out of Appalachian State, Tony Washington holds experience in just six games over a two-year span with Jacksonville during the 2015-16 seasons, in which his only regular season contributions include one reception for nine yards and a rushing attempt for eight yards.
Although Washington lacks meaningful NFL experience, that doesn’t matter to Bill Belichick and the Patriots (and it shouldn’t shock you that it doesn’t). Just ask current Patriots stars Rob Ninkovich and James Develin, who both came to New England with little or no NFL experience at all.
Washington is certainly not a lock for any spot within the Patriots’ receiving corps, with all the depth they possess. However, the signing of Washington certainly felt like a cooresponding move reacting to the retirement of veteran receiver Andrew Hawkins.
Caleb Kidder on the other hand, appears as more of a long shot to make the Patriots 53-man roster, which must be trimmed down from 90 players on September 3. Kidder, however certainly deserves a shot at being a part of New England’s defensive line. He racked up an impressive collection of accolades while playing at Montana from 2012 until 2016, including being named First Team All-Big Sky pick in 2015 (as a defensive tackle) and a Second Team All-Big Sky selection in 2016 (as a defensive end). In five seasons, Kidder racked up 29 1/2 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and 194 total tackles for the Grizzlies.
As previously mentioned, Kidder went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, however he was added by the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent. He was later released by the team on July 21.
New England’s current roster of defensive lineman isn’t as recognizable as it was in years past, with Rob Ninkovich, Trey Flowers, Alan Branch, Lawrence Guy, Geno Grissom, Vincent Valentine, and the recently acquired Kony Ealy.
Training camp resumes for the Patriots on Friday, July 29th, and is open to the public free of charge.