Iowa LB Tarpinian set to join Pats

The Patriots have reached a rookie free agent agreement with Iowa linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, according to the official Twitter feed of the Iowa Hawkeyes football program.

NFL teams were given the go-ahead to negotiate with draft picks and rookie free agents on Monday, although signings can't become official until Tuesday. Because of this, things remain fluid.

Tarpinian is 6-foot-1 7/8 and 236 pounds, projecting him to inside linebacker in the Patriots' 3-4 alignment. In 2009, he won Iowa's Special Teams Award, which figures to be an area he'd have to excel to emerge with the Patriots.

The Pro Football Weekly draft guide writes of Tarpinian: "His talents were hidden by injuries and NFL talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but he flashed intriguing ability in limited opportunity as a senior, could help in nickel situations and should contribute readily on special teams."

Also, Cal receiver/returner Jeremy Ross tweeted that he was joining the Patriots. Ross finished his career second on Cal's all-time punt return average list (15.2). He played in 43 games, with 14 starts, and totaled 57 receptions for 764 yards and three touchdowns.