Patriots Add Depth At CB with Tarell Brown, Not Likely A Starter

Steve Balestrieri
July 24, 2015 at 08:38am ET

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Marcus Cannon present, Rex Burkhead misses full week of practice
Rob Gronkowski's new contract gives him lots of incentive to play now
Tom Brady: On film, as good as he’s ever been
Bill Belichick defers questions about new Aaron Hernandez suit

Patriots Sign CB Tarell Brown roster now at 90

In an attempt to bolster secondary depth the Patriots signed CB Tarell Brown on Thursday to a one-year contract according to ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter and the network’s Dianna Marie Russini. Terms were not released.

Brown had met with the Patriots twice during the spring and finally signed just prior to the team beginning training camp on July 30. Brown is an eight-year veteran, having spent seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and last season with Oakland. He appeared in 14 games with the Raiders before landing on IR with a foot injury.

Since he was still on the market, the question of whether or not Brown is 100 percent healthy must be asked. Once the players take the field next week, we’ll get to see exactly how healthy that foot is.

Brown, the 5’11,190 corner does offer experience with 56 career starts in 114 career games and has 11 career interceptions. However none of those have come in the last two seasons.

After leaving the Niners, Brown signed a one-year, $3.5 million prove-it deal with the Raiders. But he didn’t distinguish himself with particularly strong play before landing on IR. Brown allowed 42 receptions on 67 targets for 571 yards and a touchdown last year according to Pro Football Focus. Baltimore was also reportedly interested in Brown but didn’t offer him a contract.

After playing out his string with the Niners and a so-so year with Oakland, one has to consider whether his drop in play and production is a sign that wear and tear on his body is beginning to take a toll. Brown will turn 31 in January.

Brown will likely compete for a backup position with the Patriots and have the ability to spot start if the need would arise. But will he be competing for a starting position? I don’t see that happening. He could fulfill a veteran role, since the elder statesman on the Patriots roster for cornerbacks, Logan Ryan is only beginning his third season with the team.

One thing that is in his favor, if healthy Brown has played on special teams and that could vault him over some of the other corners that are vying for a slot on the 53-man roster. The Patriots currently have Ryan, Malcolm Butler, Bradley Fletcher, Derek Cox, Robert McClain, Justin Green, Daxton Swanson and this season’s 7th round draft choice Darryl Roberts as well as UDFA Jimmy Jean competing for slots at the position.

Brown’s signing brings the number of cornerbacks to 10 on the roster and adds to the total roster number to 89. The team filled out its 90 man pre-season roster by also signing WR Zach D’Orazio on Thursday. The team had signed him as an UDFA from Akron earlier this spring in May, but released him on June 11. The 6’2, 212 WR converted from QB and caught 119 passes for 1422 yards and five touchdowns during his college career. He joins the log-jam of 11 wide receivers vying for the roster.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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