I started some "getting to know' features recently in regards to undrafted free agents signed by the New York Giants. With the signing of veteran free-agent tight end Ben Patrick on Monday, a player I did not know much about, I figured I would carry that over.
First, the numbers. Patrick is a four-year veteran, having spent all of those years with the Arizona Cardinals, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2007. Patrick, 6-foot-3, 258 pounds, played in 42 regular season games with 20 starts. He has caught 45 passes for 446 yards (9.9-yard average) and four touchdowns. Patrick has also played in five postseason games with two starts and caught five passes for 51 yards, including a leaping one-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner between two Pittsburgh defenders in Super Bowl XLIII.
The numbers, to be honest, are not that impressive.The Giants liked what they saw when Patrick worked out for them this week, however.
"He worked out very well for us. He caught the ball well, moved well, he’s in very good shape," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. "He caught the ball well for us, but obviously in some other offenses that he's been in, that's not the way he was utilized. That's good. We need blockers as well."
Patrick seems like an under-achiever, a guy who hasn't lived up to his tools thus far.
I asked Jess Root of SB Nation's Cardinals website, Revenge Of The Birds, about Patrick. He e-mailed this response: "Had all the tools to be one off best tight ends. Never quite got it together."
I also asked Scott Wright of Draft Countdown about Patrick.
"... just an average blocker, at best, but he is a very good pass catcher. Kind of an H-Back type."
Patrick was expendable in Arizona because the Cardinals drafted tight end Rob Housler in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Maybe the Giants can unlock Patrick's potential. Maybe they are able to bring back Kevin Boss, Patrick isn't unable to unseat Travis Beckum as a backup tight end and doesn't make the team. The signing, though, creates competition and options. Neither of which is a bad thing.