Ebner 4th pick to sign contract

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
6:30
PM ET
The Patriots announced the signing of defensive back Nate Ebner today. Ebner, a special teams standout from Ohio State, was the team's sixth-round draft choice (197th overall).

Ebner joins defensive back Tavon Wilson (second round), cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (seventh round) and receiver Jeremy Ebert (seventh round) as draft picks who have signed contracts.

First-round picks Chandler Jones (defensive end) and Dont'a Hightower (linebacker), and third-rounder Jake Bequette (defensive end) are the unsigned picks.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Ebner was a world-class rugby player who originally joined Ohio State's football team as a walk-on in 2009. He played in all 12 games last season and was named the Buckeyes' outstanding special teams player.

In the recent rookie minicamp, Ebner did not participate in the time that media members were present, instead riding a stationary bike as he was likely managing an injury of some sort.

The Patriots also officially announced that Wes Welker has signed his franchise tender contract.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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