BOSTON (CBS) — It didn’t take long for Bill Belichick to hit the undrafted free agent market. Mere moments after the 2020 NFL Draft concluded, the Patriots reportedly signed Auburn wide receiver Will Hastings, according to NESN’s Doug Kyed.
Hastings is on the smaller side at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, but he has plenty of speed. He also has experience with Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham, serving as his slot receiver with the Tigers in 2017. Stidham, along with veteran Brian Hoyer, will compete for New England’s starting job in 2020 following the departure of Tom Brady this offseason.READ MORE: TD Garden Requiring Vaccination Or Negative COVID Test For Bruins, Celtics Games And Concerts
With Stidham as his quarterback in 2017, Hastings hauled in 26 receptions for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Here is the duo connecting on a 49-yard touchdown against LSU that season:
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 14, 2017READ MORE: Woman Arrested For Stabbing Morton Hospital Worker
Hastings missed the entire 2018 season after tearing his ACL, but returned for his senior year in 2019 and had 19 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdowns. Hastings finished his college career with 56 catches for 845 yards and six touchdowns. He even has some experience — albeit very limited experience — as a kicker, with one kickoff as a freshman in 2015.
The Patriots did not draft a receiver during the 2020 NFL Draft, but they are expected to be pretty busy on the undrafted free agent market. After not taking a quarterback in the draft, they also reportedly added Louisiana Tech quarterback J’Mar Smith off the undrafted market.
The Patriots also reportedly signed Ohio State tight end Rashod Berry on Saturday night, a converted defensive end who had 17 receptions and four touchdowns with the Buckeyes. Tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene were part of the Patriots 2020 draft class, both of whom were selected late in the third round.MORE NEWS: Retired Hudson, New Hampshire, Police Sgt. Donna Briggs Killed By Hit And Run Driver
New England has had a rookie free agent make their 53-man opening-day roster for 16 straight seasons, the third-longest streak in the NFL.