The New England Patriots are slowly filling up their needs in preparation for next season. According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Patriots signed running back Jeremy Hill. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that New England also agreed to a deal with defensive end Adrian Clayborn. A second-round pick by Cincinnati in 2014, the 25-year-old Hill played four years with the Bengals. Hill was impressive in his rookie season, tallying 222 carries for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 215 yards. The following year, he tallied just 794 rushing yards, but had 11 touchdowns and had 15 catches for 79 yards and a score.

In 2016, he had 222 carries for 839 yards and nine scores. It was an uneventful 2017 for Hill as he was limited to just seven games last season due to an ankle injury. Last season, he had just 37 carries for 116 yards and four catches for 16 yards.

Mike Gillislee on his way out?

With Hill’s signing, it is possible that Mike Gillislee could be fighting for a roster spot. Gillislee played just nine games last season, recording 104 carries for 383 yards and five touchdowns. The Patriots recently signed rusher Rex Burkhead to a three-year contract, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Insider. Burkhead was limited to just 10 games last season due to injuries, but he made the most of his opportunities while on the field.

Last season, Burkhead rushed 64 times for 264 yards and five touchdowns and caught 30 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns.

With the signings, the Patriots’ backfield now consists of Burkhead, Hill, Gillislee, James White, and Brandon Bolden, who remained with the Patriots after signing a one-year deal with a base salary of $790,000.

Bolden played primarily with the special teams, suiting up for over 60 percent of snaps in 2017. In their Divisional win over the Tennessee Titans, Bolden caught 13 passes for 67 yards and a score.

Patriots improve the pass rush

According to Rapoport, the Patriots signed Clayborn to a two-year deal worth $12 million. The 29-year-old Clayborn will drastically improve the Patriots’ pass-rushing as he had 9.5 sacks last season.

In his career, Clayborn has 167 tackles and 30 sacks. The Patriots are expected to start Clayborn at the right defensive end, opposite Trey Flowers. Clayborn will compete for a starting role with Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Eric Lee, Keionta Davis, and Geneo Grissom. In 2014 during Clayborn’s time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he almost injured Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a joint practice.