FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced that they have reached agreements with 19 rookie free agents today. They include one local prospect, Harvard tight end Chris Eitzmann, four offensive linemen, three wide receivers, three defensive linemen, four linebackers, one cornerback, two kickers and one long snapper.
Historically, Coach Bill Belichick has been successful finding rookie free agent players who have not only made the team, but several have become NFL starters. In 1993, as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, he signed three offensive line prospects, Orlando Brown, Wally Williams and Shar Pourdanesh, as well as two defensive backs, Tim Jacobs and Del Speer, as rookie free agents. Both Brown and Williams are now eight-year veterans and starters for their respective teams. Pourdanesh started two games for the Steelers last year. Jacobs and Speer are now out of the league, but both played as rookies and Jacobs enjoyed a five-year NFL career.
In 1994, Belichick found two more future NFL starters as rookie free agents when he signed Quentin Neujahr and Rick Lyle. Neujahr started every game at center for the Jaguars in 1998. Lyle broke into the starting lineup with the New York Jets in 1997 and started every game for them in 1999.
The 2000 rookie free agent class is listed below:
Name Pos HT WT College
1 Adam Davis OG 6-4 310 Oklahoma State
2 Rob Gatrell OG 6-4 300 Fresno State
3 Terrance Beadles OG 6-3 315 Arkansas- Pine Bluff
4 Ryan Tujague OT 6-5 300 Washington State
5 Chris Eitzmann TE 6-5 260 Harvard
6 Matt Bumgardner WR 6-1 195 Texas A M
7 Ryan Shaw WR 6-2 190 New Mexico State
8 Martinez Williams WR 5-11 161 New Mexico
9 Maurice Anderson DL 6-3 290 Virginia
10 Reggie Grimes DL 6-4 290 Alabama
11 Scott Pospisil DE 6-2 280 Iowa
12 Roshaun Matthews OLB 6-4 250 Southern
13 Maugaula Tuitele MLB 6-2 260 Colorado State
14 Jamel Smith MLB 6-1 245 Virginia Tech
15 John Eskridge OLB 6-2 225 SW Missouri State
16 Robbie Duncan CB 5-10 191 Wyoming
17 James Kibble K 5-10 195 Virginia Tech
18 Chad Holleman K 5-11 185 Georgia
19 Lonnie Paxton LS 6-2 280 Sacramento State