By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It’s no secret that the New England Patriots will use the 2020 NFL Draft to bolster their linebacking group.
After free agency left them ravaged at the position — Jamie Collins left for the Lions while Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts went to Miami — the Patriots are primed to use their 12-pick draft to restock the position. And they now have another name to add to the mix when it comes to those plans, as the Patriots are doing ‘a ton of research’ on Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.
The Patriots are joined by the Dallas Cowboys in this respect, according to Wilson, as both the Patriots and Cowboys are reportedly calling up the 6-foot-5 linebacker’s coaches in both college and high school in search of more information. (The Green Bay Packers have also conducted their own research on Lewis with both in-real-life meetings and virtual conferences.)
Belichick calling Alabama’s Nick Saban may be a little different than Mike McCarthy or Matt LaFleur calling Saban, however, based on the rapport Belichick and Saban have with one another.
“With somebody like Nick, we’ve known each other for call it 40 years. That’s a lot different than calling somebody that you’ve never met before,” Belichick admitted in a conference call with the media earlier this week. “They may have some insight into the player and all that, but you just don’t know each other as well and there’s – I’m not saying intentional, it could be a very unintentional gap – but what they’re looking for, what you’re looking for is sometimes not always the same thing. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“But, again, the relationships that all of us have with people over an extended period of time where you have a lot of history of, in our case, players and their situations and their skills, you can compare them relative to other guys that we know and so forth. I think there’s just a natural level of comfort there, and certainly there is with myself towards Nick. There’s nobody I have more respect for, but I also have a great personal relationship with Nick and I value his opinion very, very highly.”
Considered a potential first-round talent, injuries have seemingly complicated the true read on Lewis and his proper draft position, as a torn elbow in 2017 and torn ACL in 2018 limited the five-star recruit to just four games over two seasons. But the idea of Lewis being a Day 1 draft pick are absolutely centered around a 2019 season that featured six sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss (the fifth-most in the SEC), and 31 tackles in 11 games for the Crimson Tide.
Overall, Belichick and the Patriots have drafted five Alabama talents since Saban took over the program, with four of those five draft picks coming on the defensive side of the ball. The most notable Crimson Tide turned Patriot, of course, is linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who has won three Super Bowls and earned two Pro Bowl nods in his eight-year NFL career.
For the record, Lewis was not hit during Felger & Mazz’s “Big Board” segment involving outside linebackers.