Whisper it quietly, but Andrew Beck is one of the few undrafted rookie free agents that is in with a legitimate shot of winning a roster spot with the Patriots.
The 6ft 3”, 255lb, former Texas Longhorn, was a five-year player in Austin, although he missed the entirety of his Senior season due to a foot injury. In total he played 50 games, had 40 catches for 440 yards and 4 touchdowns. What might make Beck stand out to the coaching staff is his versatility. He played Linebacker in college and also featured heavily on Special Teams.
As you can see from the stat-line above, Beck doesn’t have dynamic play-making abilities, and according to Jon Ledyard of DraftScout.com he is more of a run blocker. With Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson fulfilling the hybrid role, Stephen Anderson being a pure pass-catcher, the blocking role is to be fought between Beck and last years 7th round pick; Ryan Izzo.
The fact that Beck is a good run blocker is a big plus, as this is normally the role that the Patriots have for their third Tight-End. Think back over the last few years; Dwayne Allen, Matt Lengel, Michael Williams, Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan have all playedroles in the Patriots offence.
The prevailing consensus on Beck is that he is an “effort guy”. Most scouting reports I read labelled him as “unathletic” but he makes up for it in football-intelligence and endeavor. In the passing game, he doesn’t run an extensive route trees and did not appear to be trusted by his Quarterbacks to make contested catches. Beck does seem to be able to get open quite a lot but possibly because he isn’t seen as a dynamic threat.
A positive for Beck in the passing game is that nearly300 of his receiving yards came in his final season which at least points at an upward trend in his development. He also received $115,000 in guarenteed money from the Patriots as their priority free agent, (courtesy of Pats Pulpit). Whilst this doesn’t always equal success or a roster spot, it does indicate that the Patriots were keen to bring him into camp to compete for a roster spot rather than making up the numbers.
-Luke O’Brien is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media, and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @lukeobrienNFL