New England Patriots: Thomas Welch

Examining Patriots-Bills connections

September, 6, 2013
After preparing for each other throughout the offseason, coupled with the fact that they're division rivals, the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills have grown familiar.

There are also several connections between the two organizations -- including former Patriots players now with the Bills, who are highlighted below.

Tight end Lee Smith. Smith, a 2011 fifth-round pick of the Patriots, was released by the team at the final roster cut-down that year, and the feeling was that the Patriots wanted to sign Smith to the practice squad. The opportunity never presented itself, as he was claimed by the Bills off waivers. He has eight catches in 26 games for Buffalo.

Offensive tackle Thomas Welch. Another former Patriots draft choice, Welch has kicked around among four organizations, eventually landing in Buffalo. He started one game for the Patriots in 2010 and played in three for Buffalo last season.

Other connections of note

Patriots linebacker Chris White. White, recently claimed off of waivers by the Patriots, was traded from Buffalo to Detroit in exchange for quarterback Thad Lewis in August. White, 24, was a sixth-round pick of the Bills in 2011.

Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones/Bills head coach Doug Marrone. The Patriots may rely on Jones for some scouting reports this week, as Jones was a star for Marrone at Syracuse when Marrone was head coach there. Said Marrone of Jones on Wednesday, "Obviously we were very proud of Chandler at Syracuse and I’m very proud of him now. I’ve seen him get better and better. I’ve seen him really step it up and really be a good professional. He’s one heck of a football player and we’re going to have our hands full with him."

Welch latest to showcase versatility

October, 3, 2011

Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesPatriots offensive lineman Thomas Welch earned reps as a second tight end Sunday in Oakland.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There was almost assuredly a time during his high school football days that Thomas Welch aspired to be the next Tom Brady (or at least the next Steve McNair, given he grew up in Brentwood, Tenn.) Unfortunately, an injury to Welch's throwing shoulder sacked those dreams before graduation, forcing Welch to transition to tight end.

His 6-foot-7 frame caught the attention of Vanderbilt University and he worked at that spot as a redshirt freshman. But injuries along the offensive line left coaches morphing him into an offensive tackle during his early collegiate years and as the quarterback-turned-tight end-turned-offensive tackle put it Monday, "I was a convert, but everything ended up working out."

It was those days as a tight end that gave the Patriots inspiration to utilize Welch at that position Sunday in Oakland. Welch, decked out in No. 66, appeared as a pass-eligible tight end on 24 snaps and, while he never released into a passing route, he helped New England's ground game pile up 183 yards overall.

"I played some tight end in college, but it's been at least four years [since he played tight end]," Welch said Monday. "Mostly I was just blocking, so it’s pretty similar to O-line. But going in motion, I had to remember how to do that a little bit. I had to dig into the memory bank little bit."

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Practice squad shuffle: Welch re-signed

September, 15, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots officially re-signed offensive lineman Thomas Welch to their practice squad Thursday and released offensive lineman Nick McDonald.

Welch, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle, was originally selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (208th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent last season with the Vikings, including a stint on the 53-man roster, before being released this past September. The Patriots signed him to their own practice squad, but elevated him to the 53-man roster in an emergency role Monday in Miami. In order to get him back on the practice squad this week, he had to be released and clear waivers again.

McDonald, a 6-foot-4, 316-pound guard, joined the Patriots practice squad earlier this month after being released by the Green Bay Packers.

Pats sign 7th-round pick Welch

June, 4, 2010
The New England Patriots announced the signing of seventh-round draft choice OL Thomas Welch. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Welch, an offensive lineman from Vanderbilt, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 208th overall selection.

Welch is the third member of New England’s 12 2010 draft choices to sign with the team, joining sixth-round pick OL Ted Larsen and third-round choice WR Taylor Price.