Building The Big Board: Defensive Tackles

While not a huge need for the Patriots, there might be too much talent in this draft to pass up on.

While not a huge need for the Patriots, there might be too much talent at Defensive Tackle  in this draft to pass up on.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Over the past several weeks, I have laid out my big board for the offensive side of the ball. Today, we move to the defense and start to look at the defensive line, specifically Defensive Tackle. This is probably the most talented group in the entire draft. In fact, I feel as many as 10 could be off the board before the Patriots even make a pick. Even with that staggering number of players gone, it does not mean there won’t be talent still left on the board. The Patriots are always looking to get value, and with this much talent at one position, a player or two is bound to slip. Now the Patriots have invested top end resources on the position in recent years and the depth chart seems set, but if a player they have rated highly falls to them, they may have to pass on a need to take the value.

POSITION: Defensive Tackle

PRIORITY: Low to Medium/Low

CURRENT ROSTER:

Terrance Knighton (age 29, signed through 2016)

Alan Branch (age 31, signed through 2016)

Malcom Brown (age 22, signed through 2018)

Chris Jones (age 25, signed through 2016)

Ishmaa’ily Kitchen (age 27, signed through 2016)

Frank Kearse (age 27, signed through 2016)

Joe Vellano (age 27, signed through 2016)

Markus Kuhn (age 29, signed through 2016)

POSITION OVERVIEW:

As I stated above, the depth chart at Defensive Tackle is rather full. That being said, only 2 guys are signed beyond this year and five of those guys are really fighting for their roster spots. While it is not imperative for the team to draft a Defensive Tackle, getting another young player in the mix would not be a bad thing. Realistically, I think 7 are for sure taken before the Patriots pick (Rankins, Reed, Nkemdiche, Robinson, Billings, Clark, and Butler) with another 3 or 4 possibly gone (Jones, Johnson, Ridgeway, and Day.) With so much talent at the position in this years draft, it is realistic to think a team could get first round talent in the late 2nd round. It is that type of value that might be to tough to pass up on. I like the addition of Knighton to the roster and I still have faith in my former “binkie” Dominique Easley, so a rookie would not be expected to make a big contribution this year. ( EDIT: As you all know, Easley has been released. He had not been a big factor for the team, so while the need does increase, it is not a major need. I think we are more likely now to see a higher pick used on a DT now.) If the Patriots do draft a Defensive Tackle early in this draft, it does set the team up with a nice young nucleus, similar to what they did in the early 2000’s, and that worked out really well. Here are the guys I think would be good fits and good value for the Patriots come draft day.

Defensive Tackles With Draftable Grades:

Jonathan Bullard- Florida (6’3″, 285 Lbs.): Well, the Patriots just cut Easley, so why not go out and get a similar version of him from the exact same school.  Easley was talented and athletically gifted, but injuries and off field concerns were deemed too much to keep him on the team. Bullard is a very similar player, and in some ways is probably better. Bullard is excellent at the snap, with great timing and an excellent first step.  He attacks lineman with veracity and he uses his hands really well. He shows good flexibility and balance to move laterally down the line and make plays. Bullard plays with great awareness, always knowing where the ball is and ready to attack. Bullard has position flexibility, playing inside as the under tackle as well as outside at Defensive End. He has a great work ethic and a non stop motor. He is a little overaggressive for his own good and will take himself out of plays and will get the occasional late hit penalty. His size is a liability in the run game and he does not have the anchor to handle bigger Offensive Linemen or double teams. He is a bit stiff in his movements and doesn’t have the bend that Easley had. He will most likely be gone before the Patriots could pick him unless they make a big trade up. (high 2nd round grade)

Chris Jones- Mississippi State (6’5″, 310 Lbs.) As I was looking up Jones’s confirmed height and weight, I saw something about him being a good fit for a team picking in the 20’s, so maybe Jones is another guy who won’t make it into the Patriots range. If he is though, he would be tough to pass up. Jones has great burst and quickness for a guy his size. He is well built, with a strong trunk and long arms. He has quick, powerful hands and good lateral quickness to get around his opponent. He has a good spin move to create internal pressure and is strong enough to take on double teams.  Jones has an uncanny knack of getting “skinny.” His size and athleticism give him position flexibility. Reminds me of a young Richard Seymour. He needs to improve on his pad level as he allows lineman to get into his pads and get him off balance too often. He is only a one year starter. Jones is a high effort guy, but he does seem to wear down as the games go on. He had a minor off field incident this March, but nothing to get worked up over. (2nd round grade)

Austin Johnson- Penn State (6’4″, 314 Lbs.): I rarely do player comparisons, but when I watched Johnson this year, I saw Patriots rookie Malcom Brown. They are very similar physically and how they play the game. Like Brown, Johnson is a thick athlete who moves surprisingly well for his size. He shows good burst and quickness to create a pass rush from the inside. He has a thick lower body and does a nice job against the run. He is an aggressive player that plays with a mean streak. He has strong hands and long arms and he uses them to his advantage. He can play too high at times and his aggressiveness can take him out of plays. I think he would be a great player to pair up with Brown, giving the Patriots 2 guys who are stout against the run, but can generate pressure up the middle when asked to. (2nd round grade)

Javon Hargrave- South Carolina State (6’1″, 309 Lbs.): Hargrave was one of my favorite players to watch this draft season. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion watching him make linemen look silly. He has a great combination of power, speed, and agility. He is ultra versatile, lining up just about everywhere on the defensive front in both a 3-4 and a 4-3. He has a thick backside giving him excellent power and balance. He looks like he is shot out of a cannon at the snap, getting past linemen before they are even out of their stance. He has heavy, active hands and can beat his opponent with speed, power, or a killer swim move. Hargrave has amazing agility for a guy his size. He looks like a Defensive End at times with his ability to bend and dip off the edge. In the run game, he is not easily moved off the ball and has the power to steer double teams in the direction he wants to go. He can get overaggressive at times, biting on draws and allowing runners to go by. He must work on his awareness as well, not always recognizing the play and looking around for where the ball is. Hargrave was able to win more with his athletic gifts than his fundamentals and will need to develop in that area. He dominated at the small school level, but will have to adjust to the big jump in competition. A little shorter than ideal and he does not possess long arms, which could limit his effectiveness. (2nd/3rd round grade)

Hassan Ridgeway- Texas (6’3″, 303 Lbs.): If the Patriots don’t want to draft another player just like Brown, maybe they will want his former teammate. Ridgeway is a big, powerful prospect with smooth athleticism. He is equally powerful in his upper and lower body. He can move his opponent with his powerful legs and he can stack and shed with his strong hands and powerful arms. Ridgeway plays with good awareness, keeping his head on a swivel and always knowing where the ball is. He is a versatile guy, using his combination of power and initial quickness to play all along the defensive line. Ridgeway seems to wear down as games go on and his motor seems to run hot and cold. He wins more with his strength than with technique and can be stymied by better Offensive Lineman. Ridgeway has dealt with several, yet small injuries throughout his career. (2nd/3rd round grade)

Adolphus Washington- Ohio State (6’3″, 301 Lbs.): Washington is an athletic big man with long arms and a body type that could handle additional mass. He shows surprising quickness and burst at the snap. He plays with good balance and agility, working through trash while keeping his head up and focused on the ball. Washington has experience in multiple fronts and schemes, so he has position flexibility. His athleticism gives him pass rush potential and he has developed a nice variety of pass rush moves. He is also good against the run and shows enough quickness to track down runners on the edge. There is some off field concerns that need to be sorted through with Washington. He tends to disappear at times and his effort has been questioned. With some coaching and motivation, he has the traits to be picked much higher and could be a steal. I fully admit, there is some bust factor here as well.  (3rd round grade)

Willie Henry- Michigan (6’2″, 303 Lbs.): Henry is a high motor guy who gives maximum effort on every play. He shows good burst out of his stance and has power, active hands to bully offensive linemen. He uses his long arms and powerful lower body to get good push into the backfield.  He plays with good balance and leverage, consistently getting into his opponents chest before they have a chance to react. He has good strength and looks like he could still add weight to his frame. Henry moves well in space for a guy his size and will chase ball carries down field. He anchors well in the run game and locates the ball well even when double teamed. Henry can get overaggressive at times, trying to hard to make plays in the backfield that he gets washed out of plays. His pad level will start to creep up as the game goes on and he needs to learn to maintain proper pad level. Henry has had his share of penalties and he needs to play more disciplined. (4th round grade)

D.J. Reader- Clemson (6’2″, 327 Lbs): A massive man who wins with with power and leverage. Reader rarely gives up any ground even on double teams. He is a classic space eater that plays with good balance and pad level. He moves surprisingly well along the line of scrimmage and will make plays outside his phone booth. Reader uses his hands well to dictate where he wants his opponent to go and shows good awareness when locating the ball.  Reader is a plugger and may be limited to a two down player, which diminishes his value. He plays with good intensity, but will wear down during games and has some messy weight that needs to be cleaned up. (4th round grade)

Matt Ioannidis- Temple (6’3″, 299 Lbs): Ioannidis is one of those guys you just have to root for. I hate to use the term “try hard guy” because that gives the impression that he wins more with effort than talent, and that is just not the case. It is true that he gives maximum effort on every play and will out hustle just about everyone, that is not his only redeeming trait. He is quick off the snap and routinely disrupted plays in the backfield. He is constantly moving and able to shift his weight and momentum without having to stop his feet. He shows good leg drive and power to knock lineman back and he uses his hands very effectively.  Ioannidis is a team first guy that seems to possess everything the Patriots look for a player on and off the field. He plays too upright and rarely wins the leverage battle. He can be neutralized by lineman who can get their hands into his chest quickly.  He is a little light for the position and may not have much room to grow. He struggled with double teams and must get stronger. (4th round pick)

Justin Zimmer- Ferris State (6’2″, 302 Lbs.): True story, I had not one, but two friends who I met at separate times go to Ferris State. They have an excellent professional golf program, even though they haven’t helped my golf swing, which might be unfixable.  Now, I won’t lie, I have very little tape to go off to evaluate Zimmer, but what I did see was impressive and intriguing. He absolutely blew up the regional combine and then did it again at Michigan’s pro day. He is an absolute physical freak who tested out as one of the most athletic players ever. His pro day numbers were : 4.89 40 yard dash, 44 reps on the bench, 33.5″ vertical jump, 9’9″ broad jump, 4.36 short shuttle, and a 7.01 3-cone. Those are staggering numbers when you consider his size. On tape, you see that elite athleticism and he was dominant. He has a great first step and beat lineman off the edge as well as up the middle. He has very active hands and he uses them very well. He does not just win with athleticism either. He has a variety of pass rush moves and wins with power and speed. He tends to get too high out of his snap at times and while he overcame that in college, he needs to work on leverage, especially in the running game. He will be making a huge leap in competition and will need time to adjust. A very intriguing prospect from a measurables standpoint. (5th/6th round grade)

Darius Latham- Indiana (6’4″, 311 Lbs.): Latham is a big guy that has the frame to add more strength/weight. He has good athleticism and moves very well for his size. Latham has long arms and strong hands and he uses them to his advantage. He shows good strength to direct traffic and then fight through his opponent to make a play on the ball. He has played multiple positions in college and brings versatility to the position. He plays with a good motor and intensity from the start to the finish of the game. Latham does not play with great balance and is vulnerable to cut blocks. He tries to win with power and his hands and needs to develop his pass rush skills. He has some off field issues that teams will have to look into and be comfortable with. (6th round pick)

Joel Heath- Michigan State (6’5″, 293 Lbs.): Heath has great size and frame the position. He tested well at the Combine and is a very good all around athlete. He plays with great strength, showing he can handle double teams with ease. It is said that he is a high character guy and a team leader. He plays with a good motor play in and play out. He has played both DE and DT in college and could see time at both in the NFL. Heath is more of an athlete than a football player right now. He tries to win with athleticism rather than technique and hand use. There are rumors that he could be converted to play Offensive Tackle in the NFL. He is intriguing and could develop into a nice role player. (7th round pick)

Interesting UDFA prospects:

Lawrence Thomas-Michigan State (6’3″, 286 Lbs.)

Delvon Simmons- USC (6’5″, 298 Lbs.)

Ufomba Kamalu- Miami (6’5″, 295 Lbs.)

Conner Wujciak- Boston College (6’2″, 291 Lbs.)

Chris Mayes- Georgia (6’3″, 338 Lbs.)

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71 Responses to “Building The Big Board: Defensive Tackles”

  1. JoeyNL says:

    Where the Pats go with their Defensive Line is a mystery. All I know is that Nassib does not fit the mold when it comes to Patriots DE’s.
    The Pats want their DE’s to set the edge first and Nassib is just not strong enough at the point of attack.
    I see them going after a DT who can play DE as well. Guys who are around 6’5” and 300lbs+ like Chris Jones and Austin Johnson.

  2. John says:

    My Dream Draft:

    2.) Willie Henry DT Michigan
    2.) Su’a Cravens LB/S USC
    3.) Jerald Hawkins RT LSU
    3.) Yannick Ngakoue DE/LB Maryland

    • steve earle says:

      Williey Henry is projected by nfl draft scout as a 5th rd, Hawkins a 2nd rd the others day three. Nuf said.

      • Russell says:

        I think DT Willie Henry will be gone in the 4th round. OT Hawkins is a 4th rounder as well.

      • Ryan says:

        If you switch Henry and Hawkins the mock makes sense. Henry will be taken in the fourth round, Cravens will be picked in the second, Hawkins will be gone in the third, and Ngakoue will be taken early on day 3, if not day 2. At any rate, our third-round comp pick is right before day 3, so taking a fourth-round guy there isn’t ridiculous.

    • John says:

      Willie Henry will be gone before the last pick of the second round.

  3. Dan Sullivan says:

    Draft Getting very close.
    Pats Mock Draft.
    2 Devontae Booker RB Utah
    2 Pick to Atlanta
    3 Pick from Atlanta Xavier Howard CB Baylor
    3 Sebastian Tretola G Arkansas
    3 Avery Young OT Auburn
    4 Pick from Atlanta Harlan Miller CB SE Louisiana
    6 To Atlanta
    6 To Atlanta
    6 Romeo Okwara DE Notre Dame
    6 Reggie Northrup ILB FSU
    6 Mehdi Abdesmad DT Boston College
    7 David J. Grinnage TE NC State
    7 Andy Janovich FB Nebraska

    Great Speech President Obama on Marathon. Not in Boston.
    Enjoy A great Marathon Day! “NO MORE HURTING PEOPLE”
    Finish the race!

    Dan Sullivan

  4. Daniel R. Martin says:

    Just read that Easily has already been cut. Sure wish they had that pick back.

    • steve earle says:

      Hey Daniel good to read your back. Yea they cut Easley seems to me you and I didn’t like that pick in the first place. l am still irked over the pick but that’s water over the damn damn. Everyone here is scrambling to come up with new mocks to cover the seemingly daily events. No preasure now, but what you got?

  5. Stephen J says:

    Ryan just came across one of your guys

    Sporting News

    Matt Judon, DE/OLB, Grand Valley State
    Judon (6-3, 275 pounds) recorded 20 sacks in his final college season. That production as a pass rusher, on top of his perfect body size and quickness, makes him an ideal 4-3 defensive end prospect. He is terrific on his feet with a variety of pass-rush moves, including the ability to beat offensive linemen inside. Judon also is good at using his hands to finish plays. He needs to be refined, but there’s too much pure pass-rushing talent to ignore.

    Selection projection: Fourth round

    More from NFL.com

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/matt-judon?id=2555505

    • Ryan says:

      I agree that he’s a fourth-round type of guy. Tantalizing pass-rush potential but will likely require a year to get up to speed. He seems like he’s reasonably priced right now and if we end up with a fourth-rounder I don’t see why we shouldn’t give him a shot.

      • Stephen J says:

        A Few thoughts about him was 1 A slow 3 cone time 2 He made me think of Michael Buchanan and wondered how he compares to him.
        Buchanan is tall (6’5″, 255) with long 34″ arms, intriguing measurables, and has experience playing both defensive end and outside linebacker. This is an outstanding value, as Buchanan had been projected as a third or fourth-round pick. He is especially adept at batting down passes at the line.

        Buchanan’s 6.91 three-cone time was once again telling. He also ran a sub 4.8 forty and benched 22 reps. He totaled 4.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2012, but was able to notch 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2011. Buchanan’s long arms also batted down five passes in 2012

        Buchanan Judon
        6’5″ 255 6’3 275
        Arrms 34″ 33 7/8
        40 4.78 4.73
        bench 22 30
        vertical 33 35
        20 shuttle 4.44 4.52
        3 cone 6.91 7.67
        Pre Draft 3-4 round 4th round

        Buchanan was 2″ taller with 1/8 in longer arms(basically same(arms)) yet Judon leaped 2″ higher
        short area quickness Buchanan tested faster
        strength power Judon

        I’m guessing, if BB likes him(his 3 cone ouch)(but that could cause him to slip) he will look for value so I would guess later than the 4th

  6. Russell says:

    Well looking at the Patriots defensive line, it sure looks like an area of need in my Mock;

    2nd- DT Austin Johnson
    2nd- DE Carl Nassib
    3d traded to Saints for 4th(112) and 5th (152)
    3d- CB/S Sean Davis
    4th (saints)- WR Keenan Reynolds
    5th (saints)- OT Cole Toner
    6th – OT Nick Ritcher
    6th – QB Jason Vander Laan
    6th – DE Dean Lowery
    6th- RB Byron Marshall
    6th- CB Vernon Harris
    7th- WR Alex Erickson
    7th- DE/LB Shiro Davis

  7. Stephen J says:

    I know some of you will like this tweet

    https://twitter.com/DougHaller/status/721103291711533056

  8. td says:

    They may be switching back to a 3-4 base defense. This would require bigger guys like Brown at DE. Remember BB liked to call the Pat’s the outlier and now that most of the NFL is back to stock 4-3’s and scouring the earth for 4-3 edge rushers, there may be an over abundance of 3-4 DE’s and outside LB’s. I would look for the big wide DT’s and 300 lb DE’s again along with the 6’3″ 250 lb outside LB’s. We have a number of big DT’s and Brown fits the DE category, while at outside LB we have: Nink, Sheard Collins and McClelland. A guy like Long may be in for one year to bridge the gap for this year.

    This would be for their “base” only as most teams are in base for about 40% of the time or less depending on game plan. Since most of our division is void of elite QB’s we need to stop their running games and BB always liked the 3-4 to accomplish that.

    • Todti says:

      Agreed. It’s quite interesting which statements came out of the Patriots’ front office lately:
      “What the Patriots are valuing from a traits standpoint at defensive tackle could be changing. That is how one member of the Patriots front office described Friday’s decision […]. Both Jones and Easley fit best in a more traditional 4-3, and the Patriots seem poised to phase out 3-technique tackles on their roster while focusing more on bigger, stouter tackles. […] the word being spread to some is that the club might not be valuing the pure 3-technique defensive tackle as highly as it once did because it might be adopting a different philosophy up front.”
      and
      “We’ve had to find different ways to capitalize on the talent that’s available. Otherwise, we’re going to get like the fifth-, sixth-, seventh-best guy at whatever the position is. So we’ve tried to take more of our way in areas that are less populated,” he said, adding that it comes down to having “great players” on a team to win.”

      It’s kind of counterintuitive. BB is thought to be someone finding quality depth in the middle rounds to bolster the roster, however, he apparently sees the Patriots getting above-average talent at underutilised positions or roles.
      I could see the Patriots draft Nassib or Kaufusi, both players which have the body to play ends in either 4-3 or 3-4 formations. Trey Flowers seems to have that flexibility as well.

      • steve earle says:

        Very interesting thoughts you and td are putting out here. Given BB’s past it does sound very possable. It will be interesting to see how he actually drafts this year we could get an idea from that.

      • carlo strada says:

        IMO trey flowers would be better suited for OLB – 4-3 DE, not so much in the big bodied 2 gapper fashion

  9. Russell says:

    Just finished am article at footballnation.com on the 10 sleeper prospects in the draft. Lets hope the Patriots get most of them with all those late draft picks.

  10. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Trade with trade.
    2 From Baltimore (37) Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma St.
    2 Trade to Baltimore
    2 Trade to Baltimore
    3 Trade to Baltimore
    3 Trade to Baltimore
    4 From Baltimore Paul Perkins RB UCLA
    4 From Baltimore Christian Westerman G Arizona St.
    4 From Baltimore KeiVerae Russell CB Notre Dame
    4 From Baltimore Tyler Matakevich ILB Temple
    6 Kevon Seymour CB USC
    6 DeAndre Houston Smith S William & Mary
    6 Brandon Allen QB Arkansas
    6 Connor Wujciak DT Boston College
    6 Dean Lowry DT/DE Northwestern
    7 Trade for 2017 6 round
    7 Trade for 2017 6 round.

    • steve earle says:

      Don’t like it. You get one 2nd rd pick a bunch of 4ths our 6ths and 7ths. Hope this never sees daylight.

      • Kevan says:

        Yea this is a no go

      • Dan Sullivan says:

        Steve,

        I appreciate what you think but if I might add Ogbah could easily be a first rounder so he slides you get your first round pick that everyone has been so upset about.
        Secondly Matakevich I think could be defensive rookie of the year extremely quick.
        The rest of the guys all fit major needs and by mid season should push for starting roles.
        Gear up for trades because BB is very aggressive.He will get done what he wants to do.

        • steve earle says:

          Agree Ogbah is a high quality prospect but not as convinced Matakevick could be def rook of the year otherwise he wouldn’d be available in the 4th rd. Any picks after that are all on hope and spec. Much rather have those 2nds and 3rds, better prospects odds.

    • Freemanator says:

      Can’t trade comp picks this year, so this trade wouldn’t work.

      Also let’s be realistic in expectations for Day three picks. Very few will contribute much in year one. When they do it is typically low value positions like STs or interior O-line, and at positions where there are holes in the roster.

      I don’t see many rookies contributing much this year, especially the late rounders.

  11. Todti says:

    Lately, I was thinking about the makeup of the Patriots’ LBs and Ss, and the Jordan Richards pick in paticular, because Chung’s contract extension doesn’t seem to bode well for Richards on paper. Looking at the Patriots’ roster they don’t have a straightforward MLB as even McClellin is probably too versatile for BB to just limit him to MLB, even though that could be his primary role. All three of Collins, Hightower, and McClellin are versatile guys, Freeny is more of a coverage LB, and I’m not sure anybody knows what Bostic is at this point (well, he’s no STer that’s for sure).
    I’d say the roles of the safeties are more distinct: Chung is the SS close to the box who can also cover TEs to a certain extent. McCourty is the primary FS although he was sometimes used closer to the line to cover TEs. In those cases Harmon played the FS and I think he was quite solid at that. One could say that Richards is the primary backup for Chung, however, I think his profile could indicate something else. He’s got solid speed (especially long-range speed), is quite agile, and was a very smart leader at Stanford, however, he’s not a storybook SS considering his skills. But I just think BB had something in mind when he drafted Richards that high to make sure to get him.
    For example, I could see the Patriots play the big nickel as their early down set (in case 3 CBs aren’t the obvious choice, of course) with Richards as the play caller/communicator and extension of the coach. That could free up two of Collins/Hightower/McClellin, as part of a rotation to keep them fresh, or even all three in some kind of hybrid fronts to creative havoc and confusion. The two remaining S spots can be filled by the combination Chung/McCourty or McCourty/Harmon according to the opponent’s formation. Therefore, Richards role could simpy be to make it easier for everyone around him.
    That’s my line of thinking to make sense of Richard’s role and spot on the roster. I think the draft might give an answer to that depending on what kind of LB the Patriots pick (if any).

  12. Miss Thistlebottom says:

    re: Jonathan Bullard
    “He attacks lineman with veracity”
    What the heck does that mean? If Paul Pierce’s has dibs on “The Truth” then what do we nickname Mr. Bullard if he joins the team? Granted, I dislike mendacious defensive tackles as much as the next guy, but…

    • Ryan says:

      I think he might be referring to Bullard’s midsection, which often gives away the direction in which he plans to attack off of the snap. In other words, his hips don’t lie.

  13. Marc says:

    My 2 Cents again:TRADES:
    1.SF-…2016/6th(204),2016/7th(243),2016/7th(250)….Anthony Davis,2016/5th(142)

    2.NO….2016/3rd(91)….2016/4th(112),2017(3rd)

    DRAFT
    2nd(NE)60:Hassan Ridgeway-DT/TEXAS

    2nd(ARZ)61:Sean Davis-DB/MARYLAND

    3rd(NE)96c:Rashard Higgins-WR/COLORADO STATE

    4th(NO)112:Cyrus Jones-DB/ALABAMA

    5th(SF)142:Keith Marshall-RB/GEORGIA

    6th(NE)196:Keenan Reynolds-WR/RB/NAVY

    6th(NE)208c:DJ Reader-DL/CLEMSON

    6th(NE)214c:Steven Daniels-LB/BOSTON COLLEGE

    6th(NE)221c:Cole Toner-OL/HARVARD

    • Freemanator says:

      So we get Anthony Davis, a top RT and a 5th, for two 7ths and a sixth? Doubt that would fly, that’s an absurd steal for us.

  14. EdgeX says:

    Mike

    I’m beginning to think you’re a jinx.

    First you like Tyler Higbee and want the Pats to draft him – then look what happens to him

    Then you like Easley and look what happens to him

    Then you say that our defensive tackle depth is fine and the Pats cut 2 DT’s on the SAME DAY this article comes out!

    Stop this black magic! We really don’t need the curse of the Gerken to happen again!

    😉

    • steve earle says:

      LOL. The curse of the Gerken, coming to a thearter near you soon. Well at least someone still has a sense of humor left. Me, I’m starting to get dizzy with all this spinning around. Bit come on you know these guys will all be resigned by Monday. This may be a deep draft for DT’s but can it be that deep?

      • Mike Gerken says:

        *slowly steps away from the CB film*
        Lol. I am like the Nostradamus of bad Patriots news. I am trying to figure out a way to get this to work in my favor. I need to start talking about players I like negatively. This whole DT turnover is crazy! Never a dull moment.

        • EdgeX says:

          Yeah just totally hype up someone like Jalen Ramsey – someone we don’t have a shot at drafting – and maybe we’ll get a good CB or two in this draft 😛

      • td says:

        That could be true; they gained about $2.5 mil on the cap by releasing them. Signing them back to minimum contracts would probably add about $1mil to the cap, or it could be due to scheme change.

  15. Russell says:

    IF healthy, watch BB bring Chris Jones back at a better contract deal.

  16. Russell says:

    HMMM….. wonder if BB would go Austin Johnson, Carl Nassib and later Anthony Zettel ??? Interesting group.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I really like Nassib and Kaufusi as fits for the Patriots. Look for them in my next article on the DE’s.
      (Both to do something stupid in 3….2….1…)

  17. acm says:

    Yet another excellent effort, Mr Gerken.
    I like Butler too but have to agree – just don’t see him fall deep enough for the Pats to go up and snatch him. TBH, I don’t think Chris Jones and Jon Bullard will fall that deep either.

    From the rest, the players I like most for the Pats would be Austin Johnson, Hassan Ridgeway, Willie Henry and Justin Zimmer.
    If Pats can get at least two, maybe even 3, of those 4 guys, I’d call that a “proper draft”.

  18. Kevan says:

    Chris jones and mr kitchen released.

  19. Kevan says:

    Manziel is the football version of the “influenza” teen.

    • Kevan says:

      Yes, I’m an idiot. “Affluenza” teen.

      • steve earle says:

        Your forgiven, nothing the rest of us haven’t done one time or another.

        • Kevan says:

          Thank you Steve. Hey I have to admit I’m pretty excited about these last 2 releases man, the pats are almost certainly gonna double dip at Dt now. They missed on the previous drafts deep at the WR position, but look to capitalize on a position there much stronger at picking. I’d like Javon Hargrave or Justin Zimmer to be one the picks.

        • acm says:

          Speak for yourself, Steve E. I don’t think I can find in me to forgive Kevan …

        • Kevan says:

          Haha that’s messed up acm.

        • steve earle says:

          @ Kevan, Well I don’t know about excited being how I feel, somewhat leery I think. Can’t see that we can get 2 DT’s high, other needs must be addressed, means the second one has to come on 3rd day. We could get lucky or bust, who knows down there?

  20. steve earle says:

    Great list Mike. Did you omit Vernon Butler because you expect him to be long gone by 2nd or other reasons?

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I did, he graded out as a first rounder for me and I just do not see him getting past the mid to high 30’s. I don’t think the team would want to give up that much to get to him. If he falls though, I love the thought of him on the Patriots.

  21. Ryan says:

    A late-round guy i have picked out is Destiny Vaeao of Washington State. He’s 6’3″, 298 pounds, with a 35.5″ vertical (not kidding), a 9′ broad, 5.19 forty, and 27 reps on the bench. He’s from American Samoa but he played HS football there, and he started for 3 years for the WSU Cougars at DT. He is still a bit raw, but he has plenty of experience under his belt. I like him as a sixth- or seventh-rounder in case we don’t grab a DT early and Zimmer slips out of our reach.

  22. Stephen J says:

    Mike any thoughts about Sheldon Day from Notre Dame another possible Easley replacement.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I am not as high on Day as others. I Shorter than I would like to see with short arms too. Good quickness at the snap and active hand use. He would be a situational player and I just didn’t see a great fit. Reminded me of a better Dan Klecko. I gave him a 4th round grade and I know he will go before then, so he got the chopping block.

      • matt says:

        Day with short arms. People said the same thing about Richard Seymour. Will Day be as good as Seymour who knows. But don’t know why many fans listen to the Mike Mayock combine crap. I think a coach looks at what he did in college not what he did on one day in the combine. If Mayock knew what he was talking about he would be a coach or GM in the NFL. And when he played in College Day was a solid player on the D line.

        • Mike Gerken says:

          Seymour was 6’6″ 310 lbs coming out of college
          Day is 6’0″ 284 lbs. Those would be 2 players I would not compare to each other

  23. Stephen J says:

    One reason to go DT is there is only one player under contract after this season and usually BB plans ahead by one season. Now if he does decide which way will he go meaning 2 things.
    1 We he go with someone like Easley’s skill set or more like Malcolm Brown’s. 2 Will he go early or mid-late. If it’s someone like Easley then Jonathan Bullard fits nicely just don’t think he will be around. I was liking Chris Jones until recently with reports of off the field issues and rising up boards. I think you at least initially sold me on Austin Johnson. Now if Bill goes mid-late I am definitely interested in Justin Zimmer from Ferris State. I came across him the other day and impressive he was throwing the guys around like rag dolls blowing by guys and what a spin move he has. A man against boys and that is what you like to see coming from a small school.
    On a side note Justin Zimmer also said keep an eye on the QB from Ferris State Jason Vander laan as Russell has mentioned him in previous posts
    Here is a link for him http://www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com/sports/fball/2015-16/bios/vander_laan_jason_len0 where you will find at a glance highlights and key statistics

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