Foxboro, Mass. was buzzing with activity on Monday as the New England Patriots brought in five players for workouts. Two of them were familiar faces as Justin Francis and Jake Ballard were among the group per Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com.
Francis was waived/injured and then he signed an injury settlement to become a free agent after suffering an ankle injury during the preseason. He played in two games this preseason with his most productive outing coming against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 9, as he recorded three tackles. Last season, the second-year player out of Rutgers played in 10 games notching 10 total tackles and three sacks.
Ballard was having trouble recovering from ACL surgery over the summer with New England. The 25-year-old signed with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after his workout with the Patriots.
In addition to the two familiar names, the team also brought in running back Cierre Wood, wide receiver Greg Orton, and linebacker Marcus Dowtin for workouts. Wood was cut by the Houston Texans two weeks ago for violating team rules. Orton most recently played for the Denver Broncos after going undrafted out ofPurdue in 2009. Dowtin a former Buffalo Bill, also went undrafted after playing collegiately at North Alabama in 2012.
With things starting to click for New England, maybe one of these players will evolve into a “diamond in the rough” and make a steady contribution as the Patriots look to continue their winning ways.