The Patriots added two players from the USFL in a shakeup to the bottom of their 90-man roster.
The Pats signed running back C.J. Marable and offensive lineman Micah Vanterpool. The Patriots are waiving linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi and special teamer Jourdan Heilig to create room for Marable and Vanterpool.
Marable, 26, went undrafted out of Coastal Carolina in 2021. After spending training camp with the Chicago Bears, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound ball carrier latched on with the Birmingham Stallions, with whom he was a two-time USFL champion.
Vanterpool went undrafted out of Hawaii this spring. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound rookie played every position along the offensive line other than center during his college career. He was the Warriors’ starting right guard in 2022 and left guard in 2021. He spent most of 2020 at left tackle. Vanterpool was with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals this season but didn’t appear in a game.
The Patriots’ run game struggled in their preseason opener against the Houston Texans on Thursday as their offensive line struggled to open holes, and their running backs couldn’t create yards on their own.
Marable joins a running back room with Rhamondre Stevenson, Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris, J.J. Taylor and Ty Montgomery. Stevenson — along with the rest of the Patriots’ offensive starters — dress for but sat out of Thursday’s game. Montgomery suffered an injury early in training camp and didn’t suit up. With upcoming joint practices and preseason games against the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, the Patriots could use another running back to absorb contact.
Vanterpool gets added to an offensive line depth chart with David Andrews, Jake Andrews, Trent Brown, James Ferentz, Chasen Hines, Atonio Mafi, Conor McDermott, Bill Murray, Riley Reiff, Kody Russey, Sidy Sow, Andrew Stueber and Cole Strange. Brown, Murray, Russey and Strange all are banged up. Calvin Anderson, who’s on the non-football illness list, and Mike Onwenu, who’s on the physically unable to perform list, also are taking up roster spots.
The Patriots still have Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chris Board, Diego Fagot, Joe Giles-Harris, Marte Mapu, Calvin Munson, Jahlani Tavai and Mack Wilson on their 90-man roster at linebacker. Heilig spent most of training camp working with special-teams captain Matthew Slater and special teams coaches. The team just added Giles-Harris earlier in the week.