Looking a bit deeper at Darius Fleming

May, 17, 2014
May 17
3:00
PM ET
The Patriots signed defensive end/outside linebacker Darius Fleming on Friday, and with Fleming fitting a different profile than the team's other post-draft signings, let's look a bit deeper into his file:

1. Fleming is listed at 6-foot-1 5/8 and 255 pounds. He appears to have some position flexibility, but at first glance, he likely projects to an end-of-the-line role as a 4-3 defensive end/3-4 outside linebacker in the Patriots' system.

2. He entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice of the 49ers in 2012. He tore his left ACL on the first day of 2012 rookie camp, then tore the same ACL in 2013 training camp, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Thus, Fleming hasn't played in a regular-season NFL game.

3. Fleming attended Notre Dame and was recruited by then-Irish coach Charlie Weis, the former Patriots offensive coordinator.

4. Coming out of Notre Dame, one of Fleming's best attributes was the pass rush. He also factors into the special-teams mix.

5. Durability was one concern coming out of Notre Dame as Fleming had three surgeries on his left shoulder. Now coming off two torn ACLs to his left knee, the big question is if he can remain healthy.

6. His 33-inch arm length is considered above average for an outside linebacker.

7. Coming out of the 2012 draft, Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki summed him up this way: "Undersized, athletic tweener with strong intangibles. Played hurt but did not dominate in college. Developmental prospect capable of becoming a better pro than college player if used properly in a pass-rush specialist role."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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