Saturday, March 21, 2009

Workout Watch: Pats & Rams Interested In Underwood

Josh Buchanan reports that cornerback Brandon Underwood, formerly of the Cincinnati Bearcats has workouts scheduled with the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams of the NFL this coming week. He is to perform for New England on Wednesday the 25th. So far this off-season the Patriots have been busy working on their secondary, adding cornerbacks Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden via free agency, while retaining the services of safeties Tank Williams and James Sanders. Defensive backs Lewis Sanders and Deltha O'Neal remain free agents, as does veteran safety Rodney Harrison. Underwood has played primarily cornerback at the college level, but is viewed by some as a potential free safety at the next level.

With this versatility comes added value and could potentially make him attractive to a team like New England. The Patriots typically go for a defensive back on draft weekend, selecting two in each of the last two drafts. The last time they didn't add a piece to their secondary through the draft was in 2002.

The St. Louis Rams, who will workout Underwood on Saturday the 28th, also drafted a pair of defensive backs in 2008, having drafted either a cornerback or a safety in every draft since 1999. With a defense that ranked 19th in stopping the pass, 28th overall and 31st in scoring, St. Louis could be looking to go heavy with defense come the final weekend of April. The Rams could lose cornerbacks Fakhir Brown, Jason Craft and Ricky Manning in free agency. The NFL Draft Bible ranks cornerback as the third need for the St. Louis when we put them On the Clock.

Underwood began his career at the Ohio St. University before trading in his Buckeyes to be a Bearcat where he teamed with Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith. In 2008, Underwood recorded 66 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack, while intercepting four passes among his 10 pass breakups, forcing two fumbles and recovering three.

Photo Credit: College Press Box (Cincinnati)