The Patriots got their first look at their rookie crop, which included draft picks, undrafted free agents and tryout players.
One of the more intriguing undrafted rookie free agent prospects on hand was Liberty outside linebacker Vince Redd (6-6, 260). Redd began his college career playing for Al Groh at Virginia. But he was suspended for one game for violating team policy in 2005 and was then reportedly dismissed from the squad along with fellow Cavaliers defender Ahmad Brooks for another violation of team policy in March 2006.
Redd transferred to Liberty where after sitting out 2006 he had a very productive 2007 campaign playing for former Groh assistant Danny Rocco's Flames. Rocco was an associate head coach with Virginia and linebackers coach for five seasons who also worked under Groh with the Jets in 2000.
Last fall, Redd started 10 games for Liberty, registering 67 tackles and a league-high 6.5 sacks. He's an impressive physical athlete having also played basketball for a short time at Virginia in 2003. He's been timed a 4.56 in the 40 and brings an impressive 39-inch vertical to the field.
The defense Redd played at both UVA and Liberty has many similarities to the Patriots' 3-4. He's aware that he likely earned a free agent look with the Patriots thanks to his connection to Bill Belichick via Groh. Rocco is hoping to make the best of the opportunity.
"Them knowing each other, they can speak to each other and see how I play and my character and stuff like that and how I actually work," Redd said before acknowledging that his familiarity with the scheme should help him in the early going. "It's good for me, but I still have to come in here and make my own spot on the team."
Among tryout players who seemed to make a good impression, North Dakota State punter Mike Dragosavich was signed to a contract shortly after camp ended. The lanky, 6-6, 212-pounder showed great technique while booming several punts that hit the ceiling of the Patriots practice bubble before they hit the ground.
"Mike's pretty athletic," Belichick observed. "He's a tall guy, he can generate some leg speed there."
Belichick was asked if it more or less difficult to evaluate a punter indoors versus outside in inclement weather. The coach said he was fine with watching kicks indoors, even if they hit the ceiling.
"Even though you don't get the full punt, you can see when they're hitting the ball well and when they're not. You can watch the way the punter drops the ball and the way it contacts his foot. You can get a pretty good idea of what you need to work on, and how much work you have to do."
More on minicamp