Scouting Report: Joe Mathis, DE/OLB

In a deep DE class, this lesser known player may be the best value come draft day.

In a deep DE class, this lesser known player may be the best value come draft day.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Despite no actual football games being played, this is a very exciting time of year for football fans. Next week, the Scouting Combine starts up. This will be the last time we get a public view of the draft prospects before we see them in NFL camps. Inevitably, there will be some players that fans fall in and out of love with because of their performance in the “underwear olympics.” Right on the heels of the Combine will be the start of free agency which will help answer some of the questions about what the Patriots still need and might target in the NFL Draft. One position the Patriots will need to address before next season is Defense End. This might be in the form of a pass rushing edge player or a hybrid type player to be the successor to Rob Ninkovich. Maybe they can find a guy that can do both. That is where today’s scouting report comes in.

Name: Joe Mathis (#5)

School: University of Washington (Sr.)

Height: 6’2″ (unofficial)

Weight: 255 Lbs. (unofficial)


The 2016 Husky football team was loaded with future NFL talent and as I was watching some of their secondary prospects, this #5 guy kept flashing. I found myself watching him more than the guys I had intended on scouting, then poof!!! He was gone, but we will get to that later. One thing that I was taught to look for when scouting front seven player was guys who could convert speed to power,  and when I watch Mathis that is exactly what I see. He plays with great leverage and explodes of the line at the snap, making life very difficult for typically taller Offensive Lineman. Mathis has heavy, active hands that consistently get his opponent off balance. He shows a quick first step and good bend to run the arc as a pass rusher. Mathis does not just rely on his speed to get after the QB though. He has a variety of pass rush moves (shoulder dip, inside swim, rip) and he mixes them up well throughout the game to set up his opponent. He is a very smart player that recognizes plays and reacts quickly. Mathis plays with great discipline and is excellent at setting the edge on run plays. He also looks comfortable moving in space and dropping into coverage.


I was hard pressed to find any on field issues that really stuck out to me. While I think he shows a nice variety in his pass rush moves, none of them are fully developed. Physically, he does not have ideal length to play as a traditional edge rusher that many teams look for these days. The real reason that Mathis is not being talked about more is because of lack of production/experience due to injury. Until this season, Mathis was a rotational player that had some attitude issues, but from interviews with coaches, those seem to have been a product of immaturity, but have all but been eliminated and now Mathis is considered a leader in the locker room. This year, Mathis earned a starting role and was thriving until a foot injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. That means, Mathis only has 6 games of college tape for teams to review. This limited sample size could give teams cause for concern and drop him down draft board.


If you have not watched any of Mathis, I recommend you do so. To me, his game translates really well to the NFL and with his skill set, he seems like an ideal Patriot. Mathis brings intelligence, position flexibility, versatility, work ethic, and a high football IQ to the table as a rookie. I love how quickly he processes the game and shows good technique and discipline, especially as a run defender. He does not have ideal size as a true edge pass rusher, but he has that rare combination of speed and power and uses them well. I think he would be a guy who could come in as a rotational player in several different situations and positions even as a rookie. He can learn and develop to take over for Ninkovich as well as be a 3rd down pass rusher. While the foot injury did sideline him for over half his Senior season, it doesn’t seem to be an injury with long term implications. In a deep Defensive End class, a guy like Mathis could fall through the cracks and become a great value. I personally have him as a late 2nd/early 3rd round value, but he might be able to be had later, which would be an absolute steal in my opinion. Mathis gets the prestigious binkie status for me.






87 Responses to “Scouting Report: Joe Mathis, DE/OLB”

  1. Big W says:

    Olb/De hybrid I have been looking at is Tyus Bowser can drop into coverage and has above average ability to get to the Qb.

  2. EdgeX says:

    I’m hearing that the Chiefs are going to let Dontari Poe walk in free agency – 26 years old – 6’3 346 lb DT – man I would love it if the Pat’s signed him to a 3 year deal.

    • carlo strada says:

      i d rather having Brandon Williams instead, he´s a better NT overall

    • Turbo says:

      He would be really expensive. If we try to sign a star DT i would go for Calais Campbell for 2 years instead.

    • steve earle says:

      All these early releases are very interesting but if Bill’s past practices are any guide he will not bite this time of year. Mostly he waits until a player clears wavers (if relevant) or he thinks they will accept a friendly contract. Imo that’s how we should view these releases. Wouldn’t expect Poe fits this criteria.

  3. Stephen J says:

    There was a regional combine this weekend held by the Washington Redskins

    Here is the link

    Defensive player overview/highlights 2:15-3:23 mark

    Offensive player overview/highlights 27:54-28:55 mark

  4. Stephen J says:

    One player I’ve been following is RB De’Veon Smith from Michigan here is his diary leading up to the combine

    Ex-Michigan RB De’Veon Smith’s draft diary: Bring on the NFL combine

    one of the top 3 in carries to fumbles ratio also one of the bigger backs that seems that can be picked in the latter rounds 5-6

    • EdgeX says:

      Yeah if the Pat’s don’t go for Kareem Hunt I wouldn’t mind it if they went for him

    • steve earle says:

      Where you been Stephen? I’ve been touting Smith for a few weeks now, got him at my 4th rd most recent draft a couple days ago.

      • Stephen J says:

        I know you have Steve that is one reason why I included this article here thinking you may enjoy this if you haven’t already

        • steve earle says:

          Yes, thank you. I have enjoyed his and the other links you have provided which are great. Mike has him among the combine prospects he wants to keep an eye on and I will be paying special attention to him too. Guess he’s my ” Binkie” at RB. (Not sure how binkie is spelled)

  5. Russell says:

    Also interesting note; the Patriots (I hear) are interested in OG Kevin Zeitler 26, 6’4′ 320 in free agency. (from Cinny)

    • macspak says:

      I thought they might go after Warford but figured why when Mason and Thuney are so strong and supposedly show so much promise, but I can’t get around what my eyes tell me about Mason in pass protection. I’m not sure he has the right size and skills to even be mediocre and Brady needs more than mediocre up the middle. Protecting Brady is far more important than run blocking, which Mason is good at. Zeitler though would be a tier 1 free agent not exactly the tier I thought BB would be active in. He will demand high salary.

    • steve earle says:

      That would be good but what do you judge his price range would be?

    • td says:

      Almost all teams are finding DL’s or scheming to penetrate up the middle and teams are investing heavily in Guards and Centers to combat this. Instead the Pat’s have tailored their passing game to get the ball out quick and thus can install average interior linemen. In recent years they have gone really young and importantly, cheap. Those tier 1 fa’s cost upwards of $10 million of which NE does not need. That money these days needs to be spent on their defense, most notably spread out on LB’s and DB’s.

      • steve earle says:

        A good day two DT wouldn’t hurt even if Branch resigns. I can’t help thinking we’re a little thin there. Not sold on Valentine being able to fill the roll of more then giving starters a breather.

  6. Russell says:

    Baltimore will be releasing S Matt Elam today after his arrest. (An insider) tells me they are also,trying to move up the draft board, to get S Jamal Adams. They are also linked to CB/S Desmond King.
    Carolina tells me (as we have projected) want to move-up to get RB Fournette.
    Arizona sees them also interested to move-up in the draft, for WR Corey Davis, or Mike Williams.
    New England,… I’m hearing talk that Hightower could get the “tag” and then be Traded to San Francisco with QB Garopppolo !!
    This could set-up a draft choices trade with Carolina.

    • macspak says:

      DH and JG for #2? And more? What are you hearing on the return? Interesting. More than one way to skin a cat….

    • EdgeX says:

      Well which is more valuable to SF a 1st in 2017 and 1st in 2018 for…Kirk Cousins

      ….or Jimmy G and DH for the same?

      I can’t see the Pat’s giving up Jimmy G and DH for anything less than 2 x 1st (2017 and 2018)

      If it works out like that then the Pat’s could trade down from #2 to #8 with Carolina for Fournette and then trade down again with the Cardinals for either Mike Williams or Corey Davis.

      I don’t see how the Ravens can move up to draft Jamal Adams unless they give up a lot of picks. Jamal Adams is definitely going in the top 8, if not top 5.

      • D. Martin says:

        This seems like a fun exercise. Help me with the framework because this will be a fun mock. So, we trade It and Hightower for 1st this year and a first next. Then we trade no. 2 to panthers for 8, then we trade 8 to Arizona. What do we pick up in those trades and with whom and for what can we trade our original first (32)?

        • D. Martin says:

          I meant JG….. Autocorrect

        • Turbo says:

          If we have the 2nd overral pick i wouldn’t trade down much. I would probably just pick Foster who can replace Hightower.

        • EdgeX says:

          Remember this is all hypothetical, but I’d imagine:

          1 x 1st in 2018 from SF
          1 x 1st in 2018 from Carolina

          Maybe 1 x 1st in 2018 from Cardinals moving up from 13th overall to 8th. Pat’s may just pick up multiple picks in later rounds for this trade.

          Plus the Pat’s already have their first in the 2018. So that be a total of 3 (possibly 4) first round picks in 2018.

          And who knows how they could trade those picks from there.

        • matt says:

          It does seem interesting. I would tag DH trade Jimmy G to either SF or the Bears with the 2 nd or 3rd pick in the draft I would draft Johnathan Allen. Then I guess you could cut or trade Branch and long. Line up Flowers at DE next to Allen. Trade the 32 pick to the Browns for pick 33 first pick 2nd round there 3rd round pick and one of there 4th. I know it wont happen but it is fun to think about.

        • D. Martin says:

          Matt are you saying that a team would give up a very early 1st and 4th just to move up one spot in the second? Maybe you were joking with us over our trade fantasies? Lol

        • D. Martin says:

          Correction. I meant third and 4 th

        • steve earle says:

          @ Edge… Cripes 3, maybe 4, 1st rd choices? that just might be enough to convince Goodell to jump off the GWB.

        • matt says:

          Nope. just thinking out loud a little who knows what will happen.

    • Russell says:

      No word about trade value from my ex-player friend.( I) would guess a 1st & 3d in 2017, and 1st & 3d in 2018, for Hightower, and Garopplo.
      San Francisco (is) interested in Hightower as a free agent, and willing to go $15-16 mil. per year, 3-5 year deal.
      My understanding is they(SF) would have to pay the tag price $14.5 mil. for 2017 , while working out a deal, or offer a bigger contract, canceling the tag. By trading Hightower the Patriots would off the hook for the tag money against the cap.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Here is a possibly late round special teamer pick

    Same guy another special teams play

    Thanks to Daniel Jeremiah

    • Stephen J says:

      This from on Mack Hollins

      Special teams captain all four years at school. Had 20 special teams tackles over his first three seasons

  8. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriot Predictions And Mock Draft. 6.0

    Jimmy G. gets traded to Texans for 2nd round choices in 2017 and 2018.

    Patriots Mock Draft.
    1 Zach Cunningham ILB Vanderbilt
    2 (From possible trade with Texans) Garreon Conley CB Ohio State
    2 Devonte Fields DE Louisville
    3 Chad Wheeler OT USC
    3 Montravius Adams DT Auburn
    5 Marquez White CB Florida State
    5 Gerald Everett TE South Alabama
    6 Blake Jarwin TE Oklahoma St.
    7 Bart Houston QB Wisconsin

    Patriot Free Agents
    Logan Ryan
    Michael Floyd
    LeGarrette Blount
    Duron Harmon

    NFL Free Agents
    AJ Klein ILB Panthers
    Zach Line FB Vikings
    Kiko Alonso ILB Miami
    Matt Elam S Ravens
    Karl Klug DE/DT Titans
    Chance Warmack G Titans

  9. D. Martin says:

    Question for you guys…….Melinfonwu or Budda Baker?

    • D. Martin says:

      If trades fell right, would anyone be a fan of taking both? Would that FS and SS combo be our backfield of the future? I mean, of course we have McCourty at FS. Also, I wouldn’t forgo Jarrdad Davis for Baker, but I really like his play style. He is the same size as Brent Grimes and Grimes was an electric cornerback with the Falcons.

      • steve earle says:

        With current needs and uncertainties do we really want to use high rd. draft picks on 2 safety’s when our current starters are sound and able? Maybe if a good SAF to late day 2 otherwise only on a 3rd day flyer, IMO.

      • Tim D says:

        It all depends if they are able to re-sign Harmon. I’d definitely be in the market for a Chung replacement. A guy I like who should be available late in the draft or as a FA is Dymonte Thomas, Mich

        • steve earle says:

          Why Chung other then looking forward to the future? Chung has done very well sense he returned a couple years back plus I thought that’s why folks want to resign Harmon. Chung and McCourty have been doing a good job so I don’t see the imperative for high picks at the position.

    • EdgeX says:

      I think I’d go with Melinfonwu…I worry about Budda Baker’s small size = 180 lbs. He plays so physical, not sure long term he could hold up.

      But if you want someone to replace or backup guys currently on our roster…

      Devin McCourty backups = Eddie Jackson or Marcus Williams
      Pat Chung back ups = Jabrill Peppers, Desmond King, Tony Conner

      • D. Martin says:

        Is Melinfonwu an upgrade to Chung? I mean, Chung was a second round talent. I don’t want a SS who can’t start this season and relegate Chung to backup role.

        • EdgeX says:

          I think Melinfonwu is a good prospect – I don’t think he can immediately replace Chung nor do I believe there’s many Safety prospects in this draft that can do that.

        • EdgeX says:

          To further explain – Chung is a 9 year veteran – his understanding of the Patriot’s system and things he does, and responsible for, are at times very difficult. But he can do that because of his experience and skills. Hard to “immediately” replace that.

          Anyone of these guys: Jabrill Peppers, Desmond King, Tony Conner – I wouldn’t mind learning behind Chung and eventually taking over the role.

  10. EdgeX says:

    Don’t think I saw this mentioned before, but Kyle Williams DT out of Buffalo could be a cap causality. Always liked him. Wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Pat’s uniform next year and could help solve the DT depth problem if they don’t like any of the guys in the draft.

  11. Russell says:

    Thanks EDGEX for the heads up on Jordon Willis at 6’4″ 255 lbs. The Combine will be interesting for him. College time has him at 4.67 40yd, which is Hightower type speed for his size. The key will be the 3-cone drill, for his change of direction speed. He is a very good tackler, and sees the play very quickly, more like a LB.
    Not as impressive as pass rush is marginal at DE. Has a high motor and works very hard, interviews well, and understands the scheme.
    BB will like the kids size, work ethic, and will see the scheme flexibility he brings.

    • td says:

      Yes, I also was thinking he could be developed at LB to be Hightower replacement/back up. Ideal size to take on OLinemen at point of attack and pass rush skills on passing downs.

    • EdgeX says:

      Maybe he can play LB too, but he produced 12 sacks, 17.5 tackles for a loss, and 87 QB pressures (which lead the nation for last year!). This info tells me he’s got some pass rushing presence and with the right coaching – such as that under the Patriot’s system I think he can be come a good DE.

      Although his build and game allows another trait that I think BB covets on defense: versatility which could allow him to play LB or DE. Which is why I think he will be a target for the Pat’s come draft day.

  12. Stephen J says:

    This by Dane Brugler

    NCAA-record 633 tackles (13.2 per game!). Rare 4-year team captain. Not going to find a better resume than #Lindenwood LB Connor Harris.

    • D. Martin says:

      He is also being compared to Steve Borland who I had mocked to the Pats about 3 or so years ago. Borland was drafted by the 49ers, had a phenomenal rookie season, and then promptly retired, citing fears of concussions. Borland would have been a superstar. This guy is a good find!

      • D. Martin says:

        *Chris Borland, I meant. Lol. Same height but Borland was a little heavier and played at a higher profile school.

        • steve earle says:

          No problem D. Martin still a good find by Stephen and your input is valid. I’m going to Google this kid to see for myself now. Willl he be at the combine does anyone know?

  13. Stephen J says:

    Here is an interesting tweet I came across

    Player regularly mocked R1 that doesn’t belong Any QB

    Player NOT typically mocked R1 that belongs ???

    • steve earle says:

      This kid sounds like a solid prospect at DE. Has the size and production and Draft Scout has him rated a 3rd rd. Another one for Stephen J. Good work!

  14. EdgeX says:

    If the Pat’s miss out on guys like Solomon Thomas and Taco Charlton – which right now seems likely.

    Then they could double dip at DE – say for Jordan Willis in the 2nd round and maybe Joe Mathis in the 4th or so.

    At first I thought this might be a draft they would double dip at RB for but the more I think about it I really could see them double dipping at the DE position this year.

    All the Pat’s really have is Ninko (and who knows much longer he will play) and Flowers. Long hasn’t resigned – and not sure if he will retire or not. And I don’t think the Pat’s are going to target Sheard in free agency.

    They really need to add depth and youth to that position.

  15. Chris D says:

    I stumbled across him while checking out Caleb Brantley he played in the shrine game bun didn’t get an invite to the combine, I watched some highlights and he looks like he could be a nice 6-7 rd pick or priority free agent

    • Chris D says:

      In response to joey Ivey

      • steve earle says:

        Haven’t found much on him. What do you know about him Chris?

        • Chris D says:

          Played for Florida DT, 6’3 301, 3 year starter missed a couple of games as a senior with a thumb injury, dealt with the death of his sister after a car accident in 2015. As I said found him while watching videos of Caleb Brantley just seemed like a patriot kind of guy with a high motor, the Pats always seem to find late value guys. No biggie if you can’t find anything on him but I got some info when I googled his name.

  16. Stephen J says:

    My latest fanspeak mock draft. EdgeX your gonna love this.

    • steve earle says:

      You’ve got a good one here Stephen J. Only wonder if we need two WR’s given those already aboard?

      • Stephen J says:

        I know just on the last pick there wasn’t anybody else that I recognized usually there are at least 3-4 players to choose from but all late rounders I’ve become familiar with were already gone so I chose the best player available which just happened to be another WR

        • steve earle says:

          I know just what your saying those last two rounds are really hard to fill. So many guys and so many questions. One thing is Bill seems to go toward WR’s and DB’s alot in those rounds over the years so you may be on the right track. Oh yea, and once even a QB.

    • EdgeX says:

      Yeah those first 3 picks would be amazing – too good to be true in real life tho for that to happen.

  17. Russell says:

    Tampa Bay cut CB Alterraun Verner 28 who was to get $6.5 mi. in 2017. Would BB be interested in him for $4.5 mil. 1 yr?? Cheaper than Logan Ryan, looking at $7-8 mil. per yr.

    • macspak says:

      you gotta kick the ties on him and Odrick too. My fear is that his limited playing time is due to limited production because his skills have eroded.

      • Russell says:

        I think he was in a poor scheme for his skills, and they have a 1st round pick playing in his spot. a solid tackler in the run game.

    • steve earle says:

      Frankly I wouldn’t be in a hurry for either of these guys. Have them come in for a talk is okay but if they are looking for a big payday say so long.

  18. Stephen J says:

    Woo Hoo been waiting to see if you would do a report on Mathis. I had my initial reservations but the more I dug the more they were put to rest. In a recent interview he said he was cleared medically was at 270 with 8% body fat and ready to tear up the combine. If BB has a reach this year I wouldn’t mind if it was Mathis. I expect he will go higher than most anticipate.

    Also somebody remind me when Richard Seymour was drafted wasn’t BB criticized of 1 Not enough production or 2 Not enough tape/experience. Not saying they are the same type of player just that Richard didn’t have one of those two and he was drafted in the 1st and we all know how that worked out.

    • steve earle says:

      Well now I’m really going to keep an eye on Mathis at the combine, you’ve peaked my interest.

  19. EdgeX says:

    Good to see that there could still be some late round prospects the Pat’s could target.

    I also like DE Jordan Willis – but I could see him going in the 2nd or 3rd round.

    • steve earle says:

      Agree EdgeX, I have Jordan Willis in our 3rd on my mock today over on the Tre’Davison White page and I’m expecting more of these “unknowns” to start getting noticed the nearer we get to the real Draft. It always happens.

    • Russell says:

      I like Wills a lot, tho I see him as a LB, like Hightower. Not sure about Coverage skills in drop. I did not see as much from him as a DE. Strong Tackler, reads plays well.

    • Stephen J says:

      I like Willis as well. I liked what he did at the Senior Bowl. He is the player that you know what your are going to get. Consistent. I was always initially looking for him in my earlier mock drafts. It just seemed that there was somebody like Taco Charlton that fell and I ended up selecting them. Then I came across Joe Mathis and started liking him. Now its just do you like knowing what you are going to get or are you betting on the player who had limited amount of experience but who flashed/showed up well during that that time and who possibly has a higher upside. For me I wouldn’t mind Willis I’d be happy with him as well but I find myself favoring Mathis more if I had to choose between the two.

  20. Russell says:

    The NFL has set the Compensatory picks;
    Patriots get #103 3d round from Cleveland
    Patriots get # 185 5th round for the loss of DT Hicks 87% of the snaps for the Bears.

  21. D. Martin says:

    Is DE FA Jared Odrick worth bringing in for a workout? Not eye-popping career stats, but numbers suggest a linemen generating a decent amount of interior pressure, and he has only played for about 5 years (excluding little rookie season play and a trip to IR last year.)

    • D. Martin says:

      Disregard, I thought he was a DT. I missed that. A DE averaging 4 sacks a year certainly isn’t stellar.

  22. Chris D says:

    I watched some highlights of Mathis the other day I really like what he brings as a edge defender if he can be had in rd 3. I also like joey Ivie for interior d-line any opinions on him?

  23. Russell says:

    My Binkie Status goes to; OLB/Edge Jimmie Gilbert 6’4+” 230 lbs. 4.74 40yd. 34 1/8″ arms.
    NOT at the Combine?? Patriots interviewed him at East-West game.
    Gilbert’s body makes him look like a Safety. Powerful, quickness, fast twitch, long arms, drops well in TE coverage. Strong tackler, intelligent, interviews well.
    NEEDS coaching, NOT a day one player. Special teams to start.

    • steve earle says:

      Sounds familuar have you mentioned him before? If so I think I googled him but can’t really recall.

  24. steve earle says:

    Really intriguing prospect here Mike. I agree we should be looking for either a DE/DT type or the DE/OLB type somewhere in this draft. Glad you addressed it here. Nice!

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