The Patriots have reportedly made two additions to their roster to reach the 90-man limit on the eve of veteran report date for their 2023 Training Camp.
New England officially announced the signing of former Navy linebacker Diego Fagot and are also signing former 49ers third-round draft selection Jalen Hurd after working out for the team on Monday, according to reports. Fagot has yet to appear in an NFL game after spending training camp last summer with the Baltimore Ravens, while Hurd also hasn't seen the field in the regular season as a pro due to various injuries.
Starting with the official signing of Fagot, the former Midshipmen captain earned All-ACC honors in his senior season and was the MVP at the 2022 Shrine Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound middle linebacker primarily played off the line of scrimmage for Navy, tallying 282 career tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks.
Along with being a stout run defender at the second level of Navy's defense, Fagot was a standout special-teamer who regularly appeared on three different special teams units. Fagot's physicality and body type also suggests that he could convert to fullback. The Patriots don't currently roster a traditional fullback, a role they utilized for years under former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and playing multiple positions could potentially give Fagot an opportunity to give himself more roster value as a current longshot to make the initial 53-man roster.
As for Hurd, the former third-round draft choice who exploded onto the draft scene by converting to wide receiver from running back at Baylor has been out of the NFL since November 2021, when San Francisco waived him. However, Hurd's struggles to catch on as a pro aren't talent-related, but rather injury issues have stunted his development.
Hurd's NFL career was derailed due to a season-ending back injury as a rookie, followed by a torn ACL ahead of his 2020 season. The 27-year-old wideout then had a setback with his ACL recovery that prevented him from being on the field in 2021, and the 49ers eventually waived him with an injury settlement.
The once-promising prospect had terrific size at 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds but only spent one season at wide receiver when he transferred to Baylor, so he was viewed as a project entering the league. Still, in his preseason opportunities with the 49ers, Hurd averaged four yards after the catch per reception, which was also a standout trait for the big-bodied ball carrier in college.
Hurd can potentially be a threat on wide receiver screens, jet sweeps and other schemed touches, and crossing routes that allow him to run into open space. In some ways, Hurd's college tape resembled former Pats return man and offensive weapon, Cordarrelle Patterson. Of course, that has not materialized, so think of it as a Patterson-lite comparison.
Although the physical upside is there, Hurd's route-running and ball skills were a work in progress. He had issues selling and bursting through his route breaks to create separation and needed to improve in contested catch situations.
Unfortunately, Hurd's injury history is extensive, and it limits us to 67 snaps in the preseason as an NFL player to judge his game at this level. Like Fagot, Hurd is a long shot to make the team this summer, but he's a worthwhile dart throw due to his physical potential.
With rookies and rehabbing players already in the building, veterans will report to Gillette Stadium for the start of Training Camp on Tuesday, with the first camp practice on Wednesday.