Former Terp Joe Vellano Makes Patriots Roster


November 3, 2012; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins tackle Joe Vellano (72) in action against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Byrd Stadium. Georgia Tech beat Maryland 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

NFL final roster cuts are among the most devastating times for young players trying to make it at the most elite level.

For former Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano, it was a time of great joy. Vellano was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New England Patriots this past April and ended up making the Patriots 53-man roster on Saturday.

Vellano recorded six tackles (four solo) and a sack in four games for the Patriot this preseason. The former Terp also started the final two games against the Detroit Lions and New York Giants. He is slated to be the backup left defensive tackle behind Tommy Kelly.

In a pretty awesome turn of events, A.J. Francis was claimed off waivers by the Patriots. On Saturday, Francis was waived by the Miami Dolphins, who had signed him back in April after he went undrafted. It’s unclear if Francis will be on the Patriots 53-man roster or the practice squad.

In less encouraging news, fullback Devonte Campbell (Atlanta Falcons), tight end Matt Furstenburg (Baltimore Ravens), and linebacker Darin Drakeford (Kansas City Chiefs),were all released by their respective teams on Saturday afternoon.

Furstenburg looked like he would make the Ravens roster, especially with the team cutting tight end Visanthe Shiancoe last week and losing last year’s starter Dennis Pitta to a season-ending injury. According to the Baltimore Sun, the team would like to sign Furstenburg to the practice squad if he clears waivers on Sunday.

Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey had injury problems while with the Green Bay Packers, including hamstring and toe injuries.  He was waived when rosters were cut down to 75. However, Dorsey is on injured reserve when an injury settlement can be reached.