On Thursday afternoon, the Patriots officially announced the signings of seven undrafted free agents:
1. OL Jeremiah Warren, South Florida
2. OT Markus Zusevics, Iowa
3. DL Marcus Forston, Miami
4. TE Brad Herman, Iowa
5. WR Matt Roark, Kentucky
6. DL Justin Francis, Rutgers
7. RB Brandon Bolden, Mississippi
Here’s a brief overview of each, as well as a pre-draft scouting report from around the web:
Jeremiah Warren, offensive line, South Florida: Warren (6-3, 324) played in 45 games with 38 starts during his South Florida career, including 12 starts at guard during his senior season. He was a named a 2011 second team All-Big East selection after helping the Bulls average 432.8 yards/game (30th in the NCAA) of total offense.
Scouting Report: “A feisty, short-area mauler who stands out most for his physicality and could find a role in a power-blocking scheme and potentially even be tried at center.” -- via Pro Football Weekly
Markus Zusevics, offensive tackle, Iowa: A two-year starter at Iowa, Zusevics (6-5, 303) enjoyed a fine senior season, during which he started all 13 games at right tackle and was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and the media. For his career, Zusevics posted 26 starts for the Hawkeyes. He was injured during the bench press portion of the physical testing done at the annual NFL scouting combine, and a torn pectoral muscle suffered then likely played a part in his not being drafted.
Scouting Report: “Zusevics has been a reliable blocker for Iowa and is a straight-line run blocker who is powerful in the run game. He is non-explosive and has a difficult time getting a jolt. He could be looked at to move inside to center given this and his weight. He is slow off the ball and struggles in pass protection, but he has late-round talent based off his frame and consistency.” -- via NFL.com
Marcus Forston, defensive line, Miami: An early entrant into the 2012 NFL draft, Forston (6-1, 301) finished 2011 – his junior season – with just 5 tackles in three games, as he missed much of the year with a knee injury. It was his second season-ending injury, as he received a medical hardship in 2009 as well. Forston finished his college career with 60 tackles, 7 sacks and 1 interception in 31 games played. He was widely-considered amongst the elite defensive tackle prospects in the country during his prep career.
Scouting Report: “Quick-footed pass rusher with loose hips and good change of direction skills,” who compares to Sen’Derrick Marks from the Tennessee Titans. -- via CBSSports.com
Brad Herman, tight end, Iowa: Herman (6-5, 255) finished his Iowa career with 18 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns. As a senior, Herman totaled 8 catches for 95 yards and a pair of scores. Had a career-high nine catches and 154 yards in 2010. The Metamora, Ill. native was not a combine invitee.
Scouting Report: “Raw, height-weight-speed prospect whose makeup and feel for the game do not run parallel with his unique athletic ability. Workout numbers will earn him a look as a developmental H-back/“move” tight end, but he failed to ascend as a senior with increased opportunity.” – via Pro Football Weekly
Matt Roark, wide receiver, Kentucky: The versatile Roark (6-5, 214) amassed 349 receiving yards and 161 rushing yards, and also completed four of seven passes during his senior season in 2011. He finished his Kentucky career with 54 catches, 584 yards, and one score. Originally from Acworth, Ga., Roark was arrested and charged with a DUI in October of 2010.
Scouting Report: Roark was not profiled in several of the major draft publications.
Justin Francis, defensive line, Rutgers: After earning his first shot as a starter in 2011, Francis (6-3, 270) finished his senior season with 6.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 5 passes broken up and an interception. He totaled 106 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in four seasons at Rutgers, and was named a midseason honorable mention All-American in 2011 by Phil Steele.
Scouting Report: “Undersized, athletic, relatively inexperienced college defensive tackle capable of competing for a backup DE job in a 4-3 scheme that allows him to slant and stunt and slide inside as a nickel rusher.” – via Pro Football Weekly
Brandon Bolden, running back, Mississippi: Bolden (5-11, 222) was a standout running back at Mississippi, finishing fourth in school history with 2,604 rushing yards and second in both rushing touchdowns (27) and total touchdowns (33). He was a captain as a senior and was voted the most valuable senior in the Ole Miss program in 2011. In 2010, he was an honorable mention All-SEC performer, as voted by the AP.
Scouting Report: “A solidly built, strong, competitive, upright back, Bolden has the ability to be a No. 2 back in the pros but concerns about his character, maturity and commitment could affect his draft value. Junior tape reveals his best season in Oxford, as he played second fiddle to Chiefs 2010 second-rounder Dexter McCluster as a sophomore and endured injury, suspension and split carries with sophomore Jeff Scott as a senior.” – via Pro Football Weekly