Again following the thought process of trying to improve the roster whenever and wherever possible, New England claimed defensive back Tony Scott off waivers from the New York Jets late last week.
The move, officially announced Monday, made Scott the 14th defensive back on the Patriots roster. A sixth-round pick for the Jets in 2000, Scott will join the competition for nickel and dime defense duties, as well as work in special teams.
In 23 games with New York, Scott had one defensive tackle, one pass defensed, one interception and 10 tackles in the kicking game. After appearing in every game as a rookie, the former North Carolina State standout played in just seven games last season.
Scott may be able to play either safety or cornerback, but both positions appear well stocked and highly competitive heading into training camp. New England returns all four starters from last year's secondary in cornerbacks Ty Law and Otis Smith and safeties Lawyer Milloy and Tebucky Jones. Cornerbacks Tommy Knight (a starter for much of his five seasons with Arizona) and Daryl Porter and safety Rob Kelly were added through free agency. Already in place were third-year veteran Antwan Harris and 2001 draft picks Leonard Myers and Brock Williams in place.
Other defensive backs who figure mostly in the kicking game but could battle for playing time are Je'Rod Cherry, Chris Hayes and Ben Kelly.