The Monday after the NFL Draft is always one of roster re-structuring and this year is no different. On Monday the New England Patriots were connected to a number of roster moves. For starters, the team informed DL Keionta Davis and DB Obi Melifonwu that they were being released. Then we learned that FB James Develin was retiring from the NFL. And then, as a side note, FB Jakob Johnson would be a returning participant of the International Player Pathway program.
Davis: The 26-year-old signed with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent in August of 2017. The former Tennesse-Chattanooga standout spent his rookie season on the NFI reserve list. He earned a coveted 53-man roster spot heading into the 2018 season and appeared in six regular-season games logging six tackles. Davis spent the 2019 season on IR. Davis became expendable with the Patriots investing draft picks on the D-line including Anfernee Jennings and Jose Uche.
Melifonwu: Like Davis, Melifonwu became expendable after the draft. New England took Safety Kyle Dugger with the 37th overall pick and also signed undrafted free agent Myles Bryant out of Washington. The 26-year-old signed with the Patriots as a free agent in November of 2018 and was initially drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played in two games regular-season games with the Pats in 2018 and one post-season game. Following a release by Sept. 9th the Patriots re-signed Melifonwu to the practice squad on September 11th where he has re-sided ever since.
Develin: The 31-year-old is a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots and was a one-time Pro Bowler. He played college at Brown and started his pro-career in the AFL and UFL. In 2010 Develin joined the Bengals and joined the Patriots practice squad in 2012. In September of 2013 Develin signed to the 53-man roster where he would stay for the next seven seasons. In that time with the Patriots he appeared in 83 regular-season games with 31 starts. He rushed 15 times for 26-yards and scored five touchdowns while also catching 31 passes for 222 yards. In the post-season Develin appeared in 14 games with six starts and rushing three times for five yards while also catching five passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. He started two games in 2019 before landing on the IR. Develin was a big part of what the Patriots did in the rushing game and without him last year we saw the Patriots get creative using Elandon Roberts at full-back in an attempt to move the chains.
“To some people, James Develin may be ‘unsung’ in terms of publicity and fame, but to his coaches and teammates he is one of the most appreciated and respected players we have ever had. In football, there are a lot of tough, unselfish and dependable people who bring positive leadership on a daily basis, but the name James Develin represents those qualities at an elite level. A tribute to the impact James had on our success, of the five seasons in which he appeared in every game, we won three championships. Any team would be fortunate to have a James Devlin-‘type’ on its roster but the reality is he is a rarity and we are very fortunate he was a Patriot.”Bill Belichick On Develin
Jakobson: This is more minor news but Jakobson returns for year two with the Patriots. New England surprised many when they decided to make him a regular member of their practice squad in 2019. Teams through the International Pathway Program could use a practice squad exemption but New England ended up not doing that with the German. Overall three AFC East pathway program players are returning for 2020. The 25-year-old spent time on the IR last season but ended up appearing in four games making one catch for five yards.