To make room for their incoming rookie class and more than a dozen undrafted free agents, the Patriots are cutting two veteran defenders.
Defensive end Keionta Davis and safety Obi Melifonwu have been released, a source confirmed to the Herald on Monday. Neither player logged a defensive snap for the Pats last season. Davis spent the year on injured reserve, while Melifonwu was kept mostly on the practice squad.
Davis last played six games over the 2018 season. He made six tackles, including three for loss, and recorded a pair of QB hits. Davis entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent in the summer of 2017 and has essentially battled injury problems ever since.
Melifonwu signed with the Pats midway through their 2018 campaign after being released by the Raiders, who took him in the second round of the 2017 draft. He appeared in two games and made three tackles. Last summer, he failed to make the Pats’ 53-man roster after a strong start to training camp and eventually returned in a reserve role.
Last week, the Patriots drafted two edge defenders, Michigan’s Josh Uche and Alabama’s Anfernee Jennings, who would have provided steep competition for Davis in training camp. Ahead of them, the Pats selected safety Kyle Dugger at 37th overall, their first pick in the draft. Dugger is expected to step in immediately on defense and special teams, effectively pushing Melifonwu out with several other veteran and rookie safeties already on board.