The Patriots announced the signing of veteran CB Deltha O'Neal to help fill the void left when they released CB Fernando Bryant. O'Neal, a 9 year veteran, was signed to a 1-year contract after playing all of his career in Denver and Cincinnati. O'Neal had expressed a desire to join the Patriots for several reasons, one of which was Rodney Harrison. The two met during the 2001 Pro Bowl and O'Neal wanted to work on the same defense as the hard-hitting safety. O'Neal will wear #21, formerly worn by CB Randall Gay.
His scouting report reads as follows:
O'Neal was benched in favor of Leon Hall during the 2007 season and it has become clear that he is no longer the playmaker he once was. However, he did acclimate to the nickel cornerback role very well and is a team player. His athletic ability is waning, but he still makes plays on the ball in front of him while showing good anticipation and ball skills. He has very good hands and rarely drops an interception that he should catch. He still shows signs of being the fast, fluid athlete he once was. He can still be hesitant and often plays scared. His route recognition is too deliberate and his reactions probably will never be top notch. He has now had two subpar seasons in a row and the end could be near for O'Neal.