2015 NFL Draft: Patriots Select AJ Derby (TE, Arkansas)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Bill Belichick has continued his strong Day 3 drafting habits, filling in roster holes with talented players with loads of upside. The Patriots picked one of my favorite players in the whole 2015 NFL Draft, Arkansas tight end AJ Derby.

Derby originally went to the University of Iowa as a quarterback. He briefly converted to outside linebacker and played some special teams before transferring to Arkansas where he converted to tight end.

At 6’4″ and 255 pounds, Derby has impressive 4.69 speed. He seems to enjoy taking and dishing out punishment after the catch and flashes above-average hands in the passing game. Derby projects best as a “Move” or “F” tight end similar to Tim Wright.

Derby is a work in progress in the blocking game, but he has the functional strength and temperament to get the job done. Adding polish to his pass-routes will also be a priority this summer.

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9 Responses to “2015 NFL Draft: Patriots Select AJ Derby (TE, Arkansas)”

  1. GM-in-Training says:

    Chandler is a receiving Y tight end.

    I’m looking forward to 4 TE sets!

  2. Michael says:

    When I saw we drafted a TE I assumed it was a run blocker because we have 3 TEs to catch the ball. And if he has redundant skills to Tim Wright, I am not sure why we need both. I am trying to rationalize some of these picks and it is hard to do. Brown was a steal. We did well addressing Oline needs in the fourth. On the surface, it seems our 2nd, 5th and 6th rounders make very little sense.

    I know BB is smarter than me. But I don’t get it. Especially picks 64 and the long snapper pick.

    • Oppitz says:

      Chandler actually is more of a blocking tight end, so he’s gonna compete with the Hooman, and this rookie Derby is gonna compete with Wright.

      Also there’s a possibility of Belichick keeping a 4th TE in the place of someone like Brian Tyms.

    • Scott Smith says:

      BB loves his special teams guys. This long snapper kid is considered the best at his position. Teams are so fast off the snap on special teams coverage that a fraction of a second on a snap can be the difference between the kick getting off or not. In addition to his ball speed being ridiculously fast and having near perfect accuracy he apparently has almost no visible hitch in his snap which is another fraction of a second in reaction time for special teams.

      Sometimes those differences win games.

  3. ashley says:

    Another great write up…I’m kind of surprised we took a tight end and didn’t address the cb position at all

  4. Ryan says:

    This draft has been very good overall but we are still lacking at corner. I hope we sign another veteran to contend in camp because our current cornerbacks lack experience. Tarell Brown, Antoine Cason, Cassius Vaughn, and Carlos Rogers should all be re-examined with need in mind.

    • Michael says:

      Patriots already signed a couple guys from that tier. Took Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain.

      • KNOWLEDGE says:

        Which is exactly why need to do SOMETHING regarding the CB position. Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain are lucky if they make the roster. I have no confidence in Logan Ryan, Dennard, Arrington and Malcolm Butler as the best 4 corners. The pass rush better be dramatically better than last year because losing Revis, Browner, Ridley, and Vereen and haven’t found suitable replacements for any of them. The offensive line is improved, but we lost are 2 best backs and have noone that can replace Vereen. We didn’t add any additional weapons in the receiving core. This is likely what the roster will be in week 1 and it looks more like the 2013 team rather than the 2014 team. I just think the loss of Revis changes everything and I expect the defense to struggle on 3rd down and give up a ton of passing yards. Add the loss of Vereen being a monster when it counted and catching 12 passes in the SB. The front 7 is much better and I expect Brown and Easley to give you more production than Vince in the pass rush. I am hoping for post draft trade or signing of a veteran corner and Rb. I would like to see Michael Dyer try to replace Vereen, I always like his game. The Pats improved in this draft, I just think they could have hit a grand slam if they didn’t waste day 2 of the draft and pass on such talented skill positions.

  5. Kevan says:

    Looks like a talented kid, hopefully he can learn and refine his game.

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