The New England Patriots had a successful meeting with Iowa State’s Kene Nwangwu. Justin Melo of The Draft Network confirmed the signing. The Patriots met with the speedy returner for a reason. Head coach Bill Belichick is trying to boost his roster. Well, he added a lot of power to the team. It wasn’t enough, right?
It’s interesting to learn that the Patriots decided to meet with a running back with intriguing kick return potential.
Nwangwu wasn’t really a tough contributor for the Cyclones. He had 143 carries, 774 yards, four touchdowns and seven catches for 57 yards in 50 collegiate games. However, he was a strong weapon in the return game. In his four seasons at Iowa State, Nwangwu returned 92 kicks for 2,470 yards and one score. He set a school record with a yards-per-return average of 26.9.
Patriots met with a potential returner
Kick returners aren’t popular in the modern NFL. However, the Patriots haven’t had a go-to player in this spot since All-Pro Cordarrelle Patterson left the team after the 2018 season.
Gunner Olszewski, Donte Moncrief, J.J. Taylor, and Kyle Dugger had to split the kick return role this past season.
Talented Nwangwu saw more offensive opportunities as a senior in 2020. He was averaging 5.6 yards per carry on 61 attempts with four touchdowns while going behind FBS rushing leader Breece Hall. The returner had an excellent performance at Iowa State’s pro day. He ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash with a 38-inch vertical, 125-inch broad jump, 6.83-second three-cone drill, 4.25-second short shuttle and 22 bench press reps at 6 feet, 210 pounds.
The 40 time would have probably ranked third among all players at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and first among all running backs. Keith Marshall was the last back to match this at the combine in 2016. Nwangwu’s three-cone would have probably been the best by a running back at the combine since Chase Edmonds did his thing in 2018.
New England played really well in the offseason and Belichick brought a lot of talented names to the roster. He may be on the hot seat now, but his free agency shopping spree was awesome. New England has everything Belichick needs to win.