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Patriots Help Ailing Offensive Line, Sign 2017 Draft Pick to Active Roster

Conor McDermott was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round in 2017.

FOXBORO — The New England Patriots traded up five spots in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft to select UCLA tackle Conor McDermott.

McDemott returned to the Foxboro fold on Tuesday, when the team signed the 30-year-old to its 53-man roster. He fills the roster spot vacated by running back J.J. Taylor, who was released Monday. Just one month into his would-be third season with the team, the Buffalo Bills released McDermott in October 2019.

Despite their investment of picks 216 and 239 sent to the Dallas Cowboys (in exchange for 2017’s pick no. 211), McDermott was released by the Pats during final roster cut downs in September. Shortly thereafter, the ex-Bruin was claimed off waivers by the Bills, with whom he spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The 6-8, 310-pound lineman remained in the AFC East after being claimed off waivers by the New York Jets. McDermott appeared in 35 games and made six starts for the Jets from 2019-2021. During New York’s Week 16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021, McDermott recorded the first touchdown of his career, catching a pass as an eligible tight end from then-rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. He was released by the Jets on Oct. 17, 2022, but quickly re-signed to the practice squad.

His ability to align as a jumbo tight end may have been particularly intriguing to New England. He began his football journey as a tight end, playing the position throughout high school. He was converted to offensive tackle upon his arrival at UCLA. In fact, McDermott shared this piece of his football past with New England reporters following his draft selection in April 2017.

“I was a tight end my whole life, and it helped me when I got to UCLA,” McDermott said. “They threw me right into the fire and moved me to tackle. Then, I did some tackle-tight end formations on goal-line and short-yard (situations) my first two years. And then I was a full-time left tackle starter.

McDermott started all 12 games at left tackle in 2016 for UCLA, earning second-team All-Pac 12 honors as a junior and as a senior. He also served as the Bruins’ backup long snapper.

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This season, he served as a standard elevation from the practice squad for both AFC East meetings with the Patriots, including Sunday’s 10-3 victory for New England at Gillette Stadium. With injuries to offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot) as well as center David Andrews (thigh), McDermott adds both versatility and depth to a unit in desperate need of both.

New England will travel to the Midwest on Wednesday, as they take on the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving night. Kickoff is set for Thursday, Nov 24 at 8:20 p.m. from U.S. Bank Stadium.

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @mdabateNFL and Listen/Subscribe to his daily podcast: Locked On Patriots

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