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Patriots sign rookie Wheatley, only one draft pick remains unsigned

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots signed second-round pick Terrence Wheatley on Tuesday, leaving only top pick Jerod Mayo unsigned among their draftees two days before the start of training camp.

The cornerback Wheatley started 28 games in four seasons at Colorado and had 14 interceptions, two for touchdowns. He is in a large group of players with a chance to replace star cornerback Asante Samuel, who left for Philadelphia as a free agent. The other starting cornerback, Ellis Hobbs, is coming off offseason surgeries on his left shoulder and for a sports hernia.

Wheatley, the 62nd overall pick in the draft, also is a return threat, having gained 1,350 yards on kickoff returns in college.

On Tuesday the Patriots also signed offensive lineman Lavdrim Bauta, a rookie free agent who spent his final college season at Villanova in 2006. He played the previous three seasons at Duke.

The Patriots signed two third-round picks on Monday -- linebacker Shawn Crable and quarterback Kevin O'Connell. They previously signed cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (fourth round), wide receiver Matthew Slater (fifth) and linebacker Bo Ruud (sixth).

The Patriots picked Mayo -- a linebacker -- with the 10th overall selection in the draft after trading out of the No. 7 spot they obtained in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. New England's regular first-rounder was confiscated by the league as punishment for illegally videotaping opposing coaches during games.

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