Post Draft Scouting Report: Matthew Wells, LB/S

A virtual unknown to the draft community, Wells could be exactly what the Patriots needed and I wanted for their Linebacker corp.

A virtual unknown to the draft community, Wells could be exactly what the Patriots needed and I wanted for their Linebacker corp.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

The draft has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the scouting stops.  Over the next several days, I will be doing post draft reports on all the newest Patriots players.  Today, I chose Matthew Wells. I chose him because he was the one player I knew nothing about.  Here I had done all this research on all these players, and this is a guy that never even made a blip on my radar.  I don’t feel too bad though, even the most hardcore draftniks had little to no information on the newest Patriot.  If you looked at my Big Board and mock just before the draft, you will have seen that I was a proponent of drafting Shaq Thompson in the 1st round of last Thursdays draft. He was not my highest rated player, but I assumed (correctly) that there would be a run on Corners as well as a few players from other positions. In my analysis, I thought Belichick and his staff would have fun with Thompson’s versatility.  It turned out the Panthers thought the same thing and took him before the Patriots would have a chance to draft him. Little did I, or anyone, really know that there was another player with a similar skill set that could be had 5 rounds later.  I am not saying Wells is Thompson, but there is no denying the similarities in their games. I did some investigating and watched a bunch of Mississippi St. games and here is what I came up with on Wells.


The first thing that jumps out when watching tape of Wells is his versatility.  In the Texas A&M game alone, he played middle linebacker, outside linebacker, edge rusher, slot corner and safety. It makes it tough to scout him because he lines up all over the field and it can be difficult at times to find him.  He typically lines up shaded outside the Tight End and from that position he was used as an edge rusher or he dropped back into zone coverage.  Wells has impressive straight line speed and a quick first step to come down hill and attack the ball.  He is fluid in his back pedal and looks comfortable dropping into zones.  He keeps his head on a swivel and is quick to recognize and react when someone enters his zone.  Wells shows a willingness to fight through blocks to make plays.  He is also big enough and fast enough to cover Tight Ends.


The obvious concern with Wells is his size.  He is just a shade under 6’2 and weighs 220 pounds with a frame that looks pretty maxed out.  Thompson is roughly the same size, but there are two things he does that make him stand out from Wells.  The first is his lateral quickness. While Wells has impressive straight line speed, you can see a loss of momentum when he changes direction.  You see it when he is rushing the passer as well as when he is playing in space.  Wells wins at the snap every time he is asked to rush the passer, but when he tries to turn the corner, he loses all momentum, allowing offensive lineman to recover.  When he is in space, he struggles to make blockers miss because he does not have the foot quickness and lateral agility to make them miss.  This forces him to take on much bigger blockers than him, and he does not win that battle too often.  The other area Thompson is better is his instincts.  Thompson is so quick to diagnose plays that he plays bigger and faster than he actually is.  Wells is just a half step behind, but in the NFL, that will cost you.


Like I said in my intro, I had no idea who Wells was before Saturday, but after watching his tape, I am cautiously optimistic.  At the very least, he can use his size and speed to be a very good special teams player.  I think though, he has the athletic skills to play that hybrid role that I thought Belichick would look for in a guy like Thompson.  The crazy thing is, Wells may have even more flexibility, he just needs time to develop his skills to be relied on regularly.   The Patriots will have to be creative with him so he is not put into situations where he has to take on big offensive lineman, but he can be that moveable chess piece that can line up all over the place.  He should be a fun player to watch this fall to see exactly where they line him up and how they use him.




19 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Matthew Wells, LB/S”

  1. J H TARBORO says:

    2 more WRs will be in mini camp as tryouts, WR Kenzel Doe-Wisc. former teamate of RB James White and WR Adam Drake- NIU former teamate of QB Jimmy Garopolo

    • MM-II says:

      DOE – 5074/175# – 4.54/40 – 1.54/10yd – 22 reps – 37″ vert – 125″ broad – 4.29 shuttle – 7.09 3-cone

      DRAKE – 6016/195# – 4.58/40 – 1.61/10yd – 11 reps – 38″ vert – 121″ broad – 4.15 shuttle – 6.70 3-cone

  2. J H TARBORO says:

    I have a very strong feeling about this particular rookie class, i can see some vets being pushed hard or cut. The difference from last years rookies to this years rookies is, this years rookies watched us win a Superbowl and will see all the bling, once the rings are presented to the current players and that hunger to be a part of something big will take over. We’re going to see some roster turnover!!!

  3. ashley says:

    Wells is going into a really loaded position with a lot of bodies. Maybe if he impresses, he can get onto the practice squad. Good write-up Mike as usual!!!!!

    • Ryan says:

      I think he has a great chance to make the active roster. Our linebacker depth was weak before the draft and Wells fills the need of a fast, undersized linebacker. I definitely see him on the roster come September, barring injury.

      • MM-II says:

        Wells (6016/222#, 4.43/40, 7.10 3-cone) isn’t the only “undersized” LB/SS hybrid type on the current roster, so he’ll likely have some competition for whatever role BB and Patricia may have in mind.

        Eric Martin, former teammate of Sheard in Cleveland, is 6006/237# with a 4.53/40, 1.61/10yd and a 6.69 3-cone.

        Cam Gordon (6021/236#), a 2014 Pats’ UDFA who spent the season on IR, started out as a pretty good SS at Michigan before being converted to LB. His 4.72/40 isn’t so hot, but he posted a 6.74 3-cone and matched Wells in all the other drill numbers.

        And then there’s the two UDFA strong safeties the Pats signed, Jimmy Jean (6017/202#) and Brandon King (6020/217#, 4.49/40, 1.55/10yd).

        • acm says:

          The one, and quite possibly the only, thing M. Wells has going against him is his ability to change direction or short area quickness. That doesn’t show up thru his 3-cone only but lurks on game tape too. When it comes to those comparisons between Wells and Shaq Thompson, that’s the one thing Shaq T has on Wells.

          Anyways, it’s interesting how many Kam Chancellor-type players they have on the roster now, between draftees and UDFAs. Last year I was really hoping they would go that route by taking Marquis Flowers (Cincy), former SS/nickle LB from Arizona, in the late rounds.

          Maybe this is the year they get the chance to incorporate such a player to a bigger extent in the D schemes after the Adrian Wilson experiment didn’t exactly work out for the best for either party.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    As a confirmation, i hear that 4 more UDFAs joined the team?
    DT/DL Vince Taylor-Vanderbilt 6’1 307lbs.
    TE Shane Young-Sam Houston St. 6’3 250
    WR Ed Williams-Fort Hays St. 6’2 200 ( tryout )
    LB Dj Wagner- Bowling Green

    • J H TARBORO says:

      correction Dj Lynch-Bowling Green

      • MM-II says:

        Lynch, Bowling Green State – 6000/249# – 4.70/40 – 1.62/10yd – 25 reps – 31.0″ vertical – 114″ broad jump – 4.54 shuttle – 7.11 3-cone

    • MM-II says:

      Haven’t seen reports about the additions of Williams and Wagner, but Rotoworld is reporting that the Pats have released LB Deonte Skinner and LS/TE Tyler Ott. Releasing Ott makes it sound like the Pats have worked things out with the Navy WRT Cardona’s service commitment.

      • MM-II says:

        PS – Any of the guys release today (Ott, Skinner and Dennard) could conceivably be back sometime this summer or as a camp body.

        Just sayin’.

      • acm says:

        BB makes donations to the Navy program, so there is that too. 😉

        • J H TARBORO says:

          ACM, you called it, i was upset to see Kristjan Sokoli go to Seattle in the 5th round.

        • acm says:

          Well, Sokoli to Seattle (or ravens) was just too obvious a call to get wrong. He did last about a round longer, was taken by Seahawks in late 6th iirc, so it’s not like the Pats didn’t have a shot at him. Guess they weren’t as high on him as we were. Still regret him not getting picked by the Pats, think he could become a tremendous player 2-3 years from now, with the right coaching (which I would think he’d get in Seattle). Time will tell.

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    Gerken, this was one of your most informative article for us as Pats fans, this was a head scratcher until you broke it all down, thank you! This had to be a targeted player and it shows a change in philosophy on defense.

  6. Mike Gerken says:

    yes they did. Sounds like durability and attitude played a role.

  7. Russell says:

    Patriots cut CB Dennard today ??

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