New England Patriots

The Patriots recently sent a key scout to Houston’s Pro Day. The event featured one particular player who seems like a perfect fit for Foxboro.

Defensive end Logan Hall was among the 2022 NFL draft prospects who worked out for the Cougars at their Pro Day event on April 1. Patriots Southwest Area Scout Alex Brooks attended the event. Hall also participated in the Combine and Senior Bowl, so he’s certainly had Patriots eyes on him at some point. It would be shocking if he didn’t, because Hall in many ways is a prototypical Patriots defensive end.

Hall stands at 6-foot-6 and measured at 283 pounds at the Combine, giving him the size to play 5-technique, commonly a defensive end in a 3-4 alignment. He also played defensive tackle at Houston, and it’s well-established how much the Patriots like versatility across the line. The Pats in recent years have tried Deatrich Wise and free-agent addition Henry Anderson in the 5-technique up front, and Lawrence Guy can play that role at times. The absolute apex of this player type under Bill Belichick would be newly elected Pro Football Hall of Famer Richard Seymour.

Hall would be a slam dunk of a draft pick if he approached Seymour’s level of performance on the field, but the general expectation is he has the ceiling of a solid starter at the NFL level. His highest marks are for his hand work, especially as a pass-rusher. He may lack the mass to play a lot of defensive tackle in the pros, but he’s described as a balanced, versatile player with the potential to make an impact as a 5-technique against both the run and the pass.

According to Hall’s profile at The Draft Network, he should get rotational work right away and develop into a starter: “By year two or three, Hall has the makings of a fixture up front that claims a starting role and plays at least 60% of the snaps while taking advantage of his balanced skill set and ability to execute from a variety of alignments.”

Hall’s production made a big jump in his final year at Houston, so whoever drafts him probably believes that’s closer to the real Hall than prior years. In 12 games, Hall compiled six sacks, 47 total tackles and 13 tackles for a loss of yardage.

The Patriots have been busy with the University of Houston, reportedly hosting former Cougars cornerback Marcus Jones for a recent top-30 visit.

Provided he doesn’t get injured between now and the draft, Hall will have his name called on one of the first two days. He’s widely projected to be selected somewhere between the Patriots’ first two picks in the 2022 draft, Nos. 21 and 54, so the Pats may need to slide up the draft board to get him in the second round (which they did last year for Christian Barmore), or reach for him in the first. Or they could really annoy Twitter and trade out of the first altogether.

The consensus big board at NFLMockDraftDatabase.com ranks Hall 38th overall. But, regardless of his draft position, he seems like he’d be a relatively safe pick for Belichick as a player he could put in position to succeed. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots bring him aboard.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.


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NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Trades and Pro Days in the books

  • A lot has happened since our first NFL Mock Draft, which was the Monday after the Combine. Since then, three top quarterbacks have been traded, while another returned from retirement. On top of that, there was another trade with two teams readjusting position in the first round.

    Of course, this all comes as Pro Days and Top-30 visits are going on. The board looks a lot different now than it did a month ago.

    With all of that, it’s time to update our league-wide mock. How will the top 20 picks shake out now ahead of the Patriots? Who will be left on the board at 21? Let’s run through it.

    Note: Trades with outlined conditions were made for this mock specifically. Previously-completed trades are not detailed.

  • 1. Jaguars: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

    Nov 20, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 20, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) rushes during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Is Hutchinson the best player in this draft? All of the experts seem to believe the Jaguars think he is. At the end of the day, this mock draft is about projecting what will happen, and things seem to be leaning towards Hutchinson being the first name called on April 28.

    Previous pick: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

  • 2. Lions: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia

    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 06: Travon Walker #44 of the Georgia Bulldogs sacks Tyler Macon #10 of the Missouri Tigers in the second half at Sanford Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    ATHENS, GA – NOVEMBER 06: Travon Walker #44 of the Georgia Bulldogs sacks Tyler Macon #10 of the Missouri Tigers in the second half at Sanford Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    Walker’s stock has shot up since the Combine. The Lions tend to favor athletically-gifted players, and you just know Dan Campbell wants to build his team from the line of scrimmage back.

    Previous pick: EDGE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

  • 3. Texans: OT Evan Neal, Alabama

    Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Houston gets arguably the best overall player in the class to fall to them with the third overall pick. Neal should be a franchise cornerstone tackle for at least a decade, protecting Davis Mills or whoever the Texans brings in to play the position in the future.

    Previous pick: CB Derek Stingley, LSU

  • 4. Jets: CB Derek Stingley, LSU

    Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (7) reacts after making a tackle against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause/The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

    Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (7) reacts after making a tackle against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause/The Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

    Stingley’s stock had started to dip following the Combine, which he missed due to injury. However, he was healthy for his Pro Day and put on a show for the scouts in attendance. He has the upside of a true lockdown man corner, and shouldn’t get out of the top 5.

    Previous pick: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

  • 5. Giants: OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State

    Oct 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack tackle Ikem Ekwonu (79) warms up prior to a game against the Louisville Cardinals at Carter-Finley Stadium. Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 30, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack tackle Ikem Ekwonu (79) warms up prior to a game against the Louisville Cardinals at Carter-Finley Stadium. Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    This pick remains unchanged from our first mock. Ekwonu is a potential first-overall pick, and the Giants get him fifth overall. Whether it’s Daniel Jones or another quarterback under center in the future, he needs to be protected.

    Previous pick: Unchanged

  • 6. Commanders (from Panthers): CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati

    Nov 20, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Ahmad Gardner (1) and cornerback Coby Bryant (7) react after cornerback Arquon Bush (not pictured) blocked a field goal by the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 20, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Ahmad Gardner (1) and cornerback Coby Bryant (7) react after cornerback Arquon Bush (not pictured) blocked a field goal by the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

    The Panthers are the top team on the board that truly needs a quarterback. They can afford to move back a few spots and still have that be true. In doing so, they add two top-100 picks.

    Panthers get:

    –11th overall pick (1st round)
    –47th overall pick (2nd round)
    –2023 2nd round pick

    Commanders get:

    –6th overall pick (1st round)
    –144th overall pick (5th round)

    The Commanders have one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL, and now they add a potential elite player in the secondary to compliment that group. Some experts have Gardner ranked ahead of Stingley on their boards, so even while trading up this may be seen as a value pick.

    Previous pick: OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State (Panthers)

  • 7. Saints (from Eagles via Giants): OT Charles Cross, Mississippi State

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 04: Charles Cross #OL06 of Mississippi State runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – MARCH 04: Charles Cross #OL06 of Mississippi State runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 04, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

    The Giants already made a top-five pick, and realistically could be in the hunt for a quarterback next year. It makes all the sense in the world for them to spread out their draft assets here, with more to come later

    Giants get:

    –16th overall pick (1st round)
    –19th overall pick (1st round)
    –2023 6th round pick

    Saints get:

    –7th overall pick (1st round)
    –81st overall pick (3rd round)
    –147th overall pick (5th round)

    Why did the Saints sacrifice a future first to add a second first-round pick in 2022? Many believe it’s to facilitate a move into the top 10. That’s the case here, as they shoot up from the mid-teens to seventh overall. With the pick, they add a replacement for Terron Armstead in Cross. This could also be a move for a quarterback, but it seems like New Orleans wants to give it a full shot with Jameis Winston. Plus, this QB class isn’t great, and they’ll eventually need a tackle anyway.

    Previous pick: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon (Giants)

  • 8. Falcons: EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Falcons

    EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 30: Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

    EUGENE, OR – OCTOBER 30: Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

    By trading Matt Ryan, the Falcons have signaled they’re ready to enter a rebuild. The team has a number of needs, so at this point, it’s best player available. That’s Thibodeaux, who had seven sacks in 10 games last year for Oregon. Thibodeaux was the consensus top overall pick in the draft for much of the college football season, so this is another potential value pick.

    Previous pick: CB Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Cincinnati (Vikings)

  • 9. Seahawks (from Broncos): WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

    Oct 23, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) uses a stiff arm to try to break away from Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Jaylen McCollough (22) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 52-24. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 23, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) uses a stiff arm to try to break away from Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Jaylen McCollough (22) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 52-24. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

    In some ways, this may be a reach. But in others, this pick almost makes too much sense. Williams would have been the top receiver in this class and a lock for a top 10 pick had he not torn his ACL in the National Championship last year. By all accounts, he’s been flying through his rehab and may be able to play at some point in 2022.

    At the same time, the Seahawks are in a post-Russell Wilson rebuild, and don’t necessarily need production from Williams in Year 1. They can let him take his time to recover. When they add a quarterback in 2023, he’ll come into a great situation with a fully-healthy Williams on one side and D.K. Metcalf on the other.

    Previous pick: EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue (Broncos)

  • 10. Jets (from Seahawks): WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State

    Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) jukes Michigan Wolverines defensive back Rod Moore (19) during the second quarter of the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

    Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) jukes Michigan Wolverines defensive back Rod Moore (19) during the second quarter of the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

    The Jets already added on defense by drafting Stingley, and now turn their attention to the offensive side of the ball. Wilson is the kind of well-rounded receiver who will make life easy on a young quarterback. He brings a slightly different dynamic than the Jets’ current top two receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.

    Previous pick: WR Drake London, USC

  • 11. Panthers (from Commanders): QB Malik Willis, Liberty

    Dec 18, 2021; Mobile, Alabama, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) rolls out to pass against the Eastern Michigan Eagles in the third quarter during the 2021 LendingTree Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 18, 2021; Mobile, Alabama, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) rolls out to pass against the Eastern Michigan Eagles in the third quarter during the 2021 LendingTree Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert McDuffie-USA TODAY Sports

    See Pick 6 for trade details

    The Panthers’ move down pays off, as they’re still able to get their guy in Willis. Unlike other quarterback-needy teams like the Saints and Seahawks, Carolina’s decision makers may not have the luxury of being able to wait for a stronger class in 2023. They make Willis the top arm off the board just outside of the top 10.

    Previous pick: QB Malik Willis, Liberty (Commanders)

  • 12. Vikings: S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

    Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton (14) intercepts a pass intended for Purdue tight end Payne Durham (87) in the end zone during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

    Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton (14) intercepts a pass intended for Purdue tight end Payne Durham (87) in the end zone during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

    This is somewhat of a fall for Hamilton, who some consider to be a top five pick. The beneficiary of his slide is Minnesota. The Vikings get a versitile play-maker, who will be able to eventually step in for 33-year-old All-Pro safety Harrison Smith.

    Previous pick: WR Chris Olave, Ohio State (Falcons)

  • 13. Texans (from Browns): DL Jordan Davis, Georgia

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs prepares for the snap in the second quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 31: Jordan Davis #99 of the Georgia Bulldogs prepares for the snap in the second quarter of the game against the Michigan Wolverines in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    With the first of their many picks received in return for Deshaun Watson, the Texans get a potential generational playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Davis proved at the Combine he’s more than just an early-down nose tackle, and should be a player Nick Caserio can build around for years to come.

    Previous pick: WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas (Browns)

  • 14. Ravens: EDGE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

    Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State linebacker Jermaine Johnson II (LB20) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State linebacker Jermaine Johnson II (LB20) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Baltimore could use help on the offensive line, but it’s a deep class at both tackle and guard. Instead, they focus on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens had trouble filling the void left by the departure of Matthew Judon last year. Johnson should be able to play a starting role on the edge right away, and has impact player upside.

    Previous pick: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

  • 15. Eagles (from Dolphins): LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT -  NOVEMBER 26: Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game November 26, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT – NOVEMBER 26: Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game November 26, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

    Sometimes, the most obvious answer is the right answer. The Eagles were desperately thin at linebacker last year, and the best linebacker in the draft falls to them at 15. No need to overthink things.

    Previous pick: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

  • 16. Giants (from Colts via Eagles): EDGE George Karlaftis, Purdue

    Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis (5) blows past Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. (Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services)

    Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis (5) blows past Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. (Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services)

    See Pick 7 for trade details

    With the first of their two picks received from the Saints, the Giants continue add in the trenches. This time, it’s on the defensive side of the ball. Karlaftis is a potential top-15 talent, but his stock may be dropping due to impressive Combine numbers from a number of other players at the position. However, he doesn’t slide all the way out of the top half of the first round.

    Previous pick: DT Jordan Davis (Eagles)

  • 17. Bills (from Chargers): CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 28: Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass during the final seconds of play to secure a 24-21 win against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 28: Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass during the final seconds of play to secure a 24-21 win against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

    The Bills have been aggressive all offseason, so why stop now? They move up to address a major need.

    Chargers get:

    –25th overall pick (1st round)
    –89th overall pick (3rd round)
    –130thoverall pick (4th round)
    –2023 3rd round pick

    Bills get 

    –17th overall pick (1st round)

    In order to contend in the AFC, teams are going to need to be able to cover. Buffalo’s cornerback group is the team’s biggest question mark right now, with Tre’Davious White coming off a torn ACL, and Levi Wallace leaving in free agency. To try to bridge the gap, they add a versatile corner by taking McDuffie.

    Previous pick: WR Garrett Wilson (Chargers)

  • 18. Eagles (from Saints): WR Drake London, USC

    Sep 18, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Drake London (15) makes a catch in front of Washington State Cougars defensive back Jaylen Watson (0) in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Trojans won 45-14. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 18, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Drake London (15) makes a catch in front of Washington State Cougars defensive back Jaylen Watson (0) in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. The Trojans won 45-14. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    The Eagles seem to value receivers based on physical traits – they either like guys who are really big or really fast. Last year, they added a fast receiver in DeVonta Smith. This year, they go with size in London, who is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. Some suggest London could be a fringe top 10 pick, but he’s had to delay his Pro Day twice due to injuries. That could hurt him in a deep receiver class.

    Previous pick: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia (Saints)

  • 19. Bears (from Eagles via Saints & Giants): WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up prior to the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 27: Chris Olave #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up prior to the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

    See Pick 7 for previous trade details

    A lot has been made about the Bears’ roster shortcomings despite not having a first-round pick this year. Under new leadership, Chicago is going to kick the can down the road on not having that first-round selection, and borrow from the future to jump into the top 20 this year.

    This is also the real reason the Giants traded down from seven – to add a future premium asset to help next season if they need to move up to get a quarterback. By trading with the Saints first, they still get to make multiple first-round picks in 2022 and get an extra first in 2023.

    Giants get:

    –48th overall pick (2nd round)
    –2023 1st round pick

    Bears get:

    –19th overall pick (1st round)
    –112th overall pick (4th round)

    The NFL is a copycat league, and one of the latest trends is pairing quarterbacks with their college receivers. By moving back into the first round, the Bears are able to reunite Justin Fields with Olave, while adding a much-needed playmaker on offense.

    Previous pick: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan (Chiefs)

  • 20. Cowboys (from Steelers): OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

    Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Did you notice the theme developing here? The Steelers need a quarterback, but feel confident they can move back and get their guy. So, they use this as a chance to add more draft assets.

    Steelers get:

    –24th overall pick (1st round)
    –88th overall pick (3rd round)

    Cowboys get:

    –20th overall pick

    Dallas’ offensive line is on the verge of being a mess. The team released La’el Collins earlier this offseason, and Tyron Smith is 31 and has been limited by injuries over the last two seasons. Knowing that, they jump two potential tackle-needy teams in the Patriots and Packers to take Penning. Penning is still somewhat of a developmental player, but the Cowboys may not need him to start to begin the season.

    Previous pick: WR Jameson Williams, Alabama (Raiders)

  • 21. Patriots: LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

    Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Sanford Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Sanford Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    At the beginning of the pre-draft process, Dean didn’t seem like a fit for the Patriots. But as the Patriots’ scheme starts to shift, he’s looking more and more realistic as a do-it-all off the ball linebacker. He has the high football IQ needed to play the role in New England. On top of all that, he’s met with the Patriots on multiple occasions leading up to the draft.

    Previous pick: CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

  • 22. Packers (from Raiders): WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

    Oct 23, 2021; Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) rushes for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 23, 2021; Little Rock, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) rushes for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    The Packers need a big, physical receiver to replace the big, physical receiver they traded to the Raiders in Davante Adams. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds Burks can win physically down the field against most cornerbacks and is also a threat with the ball in his hands.

    Previous pick: QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh (Steelers)

  • 23. Cardinals: CB Andrew Booth, Clemson

    Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) reacts after an interception during the second quarter at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Ken Ruinard /Staff/ USA TODAY NETWORK)

    Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) reacts after an interception during the second quarter at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Ken Ruinard /Staff/ USA TODAY NETWORK)

    Beyond Byron Murphy, the Cardinals lack both top-tier talent and depth at cornerback. Booth would not only provide another starter and depth, but help them deal with some of the bigger receivers in the NFC West (Metcalf, Allen Robinson).

    Previous pick: EDGE Travon Walker, Georgia 

  • 24. Steelers (from Cowboys): QB Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

    Oct 23, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against the Clemson Tigers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 23, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against the Clemson Tigers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    See Pick 20 for trade details

    The Steelers have had as a close a look at Pickett as any NFL team. If the concerns about his hand size are really overblown, they’d know better than anybody. They make the pick and keep the 2021 ACC Player of the Year at Heinz Field.

    Previous pick: G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M (Cowboys)

  • 25. Chargers (from Bills): DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

    NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 25: Devonte Wyatt #95 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

    NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 25: Devonte Wyatt #95 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

    See Pick 17 for trade details

    The Chargers struggled mightily against the run last year, allowing 4.6 yards per carry. That ranked 28th in the NFL. They were also middle of the pack as a pass rushing unit. In Wyatt, they get a versatile defensive lineman that should be able to help in both situations.

    Previous pick: CB Trent McDuffie, Washington (Bills)

  • 26. Titans: G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

    Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) in action during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the New Mexico Lobos at Kyle Field. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) in action during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the New Mexico Lobos at Kyle Field. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    If the Titans are going to contend, they’re going to do it running the football. That’s not going to be easy with uncertainty at guard. To sure things up, they add Green who should be a Day 1 starter in the NFL.

    Previous pick: G Zion Johnson, Boston College

  • 27. Buccaneers: G Zion Johnson, Boston College

    Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) looks to block against the Colgate Raiders during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) looks to block against the Colgate Raiders during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Tampa lost both starting guards this offseason, with Ali Marpet retiring and Alex Cappa leaving in free agency. They already added one starter by trading for Shaq Mason, but the left guard spot is still up for grabs. Johnson should be able to fill the role right away.

    Previous pick: DL Devonte Wyatt, Georgia

  • 28. Packers: DB Daxton Hill, Michigan

    Nov 20, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive back Daxton Hill (30) rushes during the first halfagainst the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 20, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines defensive back Daxton Hill (30) rushes during the first halfagainst the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    The Packers use their second first-round pick to improve their secondary. Hill will add depth throughout the defensive backfield to start, and could fill a number of different roles as the season progresses.

    Previous pick: WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

  • 29. Chiefs (from 49ers via. Dolphins): WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State

    STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 02: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Raheem Layne II #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 2, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    STATE COLLEGE, PA – OCTOBER 02: Jahan Dotson #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Raheem Layne II #0 of the Indiana Hoosiers during the first half at Beaver Stadium on October 2, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    There’s a case to be made that the Chiefs will use these back-to-back picks at the end of the first round to move up. That’s a possibility – a situation we sort of addressed in our first mock draft. However, they have two glaring needs and the board has fallen favorably for both. They use the first of the two picks to add an explosive inside and outside receiver in Dotson, who combined with Marquez Valdes-Scantling should help fill the hole left by Tyreek Hill’s departure.

    Previous pick: OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa (Dolphins)

  • 30. Chiefs: CB Kaiir Elam, Florida

    Kaiir Elam #5 of the Florida Gators celebrates after breaking up a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half of the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Kaiir Elam #5 of the Florida Gators celebrates after breaking up a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first half of the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    The Chiefs have a big hole at cornerback, which has become more glairing as other teams in the AFC West have loaded up on quarterbacks and deep threats. Elam has No. 1 corner potential, and the Chiefs hope he’ll reach that ceiling sooner rather than later.

    Previous pick: Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State (49ers)

  • 31. Bengals: C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa

    Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) takes a snap from center Tyler Linderbaum (65) during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

    Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) takes a snap from center Tyler Linderbaum (65) during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

    The Bengals complete their overhaul of their offensive line by taking Linderbaum. By adding him to the mix, they can move Ted Karras back out to guard and will have replaced four starters from last season.

    Previous pick: OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan

  • 32. Detroit Lions: EDGE David Ojabo, Michigan

    Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    The Lions are more than a year away, so they can afford to make a pick that’s a true investment in the future. That pick is Ojabo, who was projected to go in the top half of the first round before tearing  his Achilles at his Pro Day. He’s not expected to play in 2022, but he should be good to go at Detroit comes out of its rebuild in 2023. The fifth-year option on the contract makes the lost year not sting as bad.

    Previous pick: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati 


Patriots draft preview: Defensive line

  • After ranking 20th against the run and 27th in quarterback hits in 2020, the Patriots set out to overhaul their defensive front during the 2021 offseason. Those moves came with mixed results – second-round draft pick Christian Barmore was an unquestionable hit, while free agent nose tackle Davon Godchaux was inconsistent and defensive end Henry Anderson missed most of the season with an injury.

    Stopping the run and containing mobile quarterbacks remained an issue for the Patriots in 2021, especially down the stretch. In the final five weeks of the season after the bye (including the playoff loss to Buffalo), the Patriots allowed 157.8 rushing yards per game and 5.03  yards per carry. The quarterbacks they faced in that stretch (Josh Allen twice, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence, and Tua Tagovailoa) accounted for 40.2 yards per game and 6.1 yards per carry.

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    To this point, the Patriots haven’t added any defensive linemen in free agency. It’s a position they clearly feel comfortable drafting, taking multiple defensive linemen in two of the last three and three of their last five drafts. From edge defenders to nose tackles, lets take a look at this year’s class…

    Note: We’re not going an EDGE preview since these players are all being looked at in relation to the Patriots. If a player looks like he’s ‘missing,’ he’ll likely be included in the linebacker preview as an outside linebacker. 

  • Reaches

    EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 30: Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

    EUGENE, OR – OCTOBER 30: Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Colorado Buffaloes at Autzen Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

    The top of this draft is loaded with defensive line talent. That includes defensive ends Kayvon Thibodeaux out of Oregon and Aidan Hutchinson out of Michigan, both of who are in the running to be the first overall pick.

    Another defensive end, Georgia’s Travon Walker, has shot up draft boards and now may not get out of the top five. His teammate, Jordan Davis, proved at the NFL Combine he’s more than just a run-stopping nose tackle despite his 6-foot-6, 341 pound frame. He shouldn’t get out of the top half of the draft. For the Patriots to land any of these players, it would take a monumental trade.

  • Round 1

    Nov 27, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (95) tries to tackle Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dontae Smith (4) during the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 27, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (95) tries to tackle Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dontae Smith (4) during the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The majority of the first-round caliber defensive line talent this year is top of the first talent. As for the back half of the first round, it currently projects to be more heavy on the offensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs.

    There’s two players who could end up possibilities for the Patriots at 21 on the defensive line, although neither is guaranteed to be on the board at 21. The first is Purdue’s George Karlaftis, who we profiled as a potential slide candidate on Monday. Karlaftis, once seen as a potential top 10 pick, has seen his stock dip since the Combine. He’s a pure power rusher through and through right now, but with the right coaching has the base to be a well-rounded edge player in New England.

    There’s also a third Georgia defensive lineman to go in the first round in Devonte Wyatt. At 6-foot-3, 304 pounds, Wyatt is a three down player that can play both inside and on the edge. He’s got an incredibly high motor, which paired with his quick get off and raw strength allows him to play above his size and be more of a disruptor than a space eater. Putting him next to Christian Barmore across from Matthew Judon could create some serious pass rush mismatches for the Patriots’ front.

  • Round 2

    Oct 7, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Houston Cougars defensive lineman Logan Hall (92) sacks Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) during the second half at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 7, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Houston Cougars defensive lineman Logan Hall (92) sacks Tulane Green Wave quarterback Michael Pratt (7) during the second half at Yulman Stadium. Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

    Here’s where this class really hits its high point, especially for defensive ends and multi-positional linemen. The Patriots have taken at least one edge defender on Day 2 in each of the last three drafts, and in four of the last five, so based on their historical tendencies this board lines up well for them.

    Let’s start with Oklahoma lineman Perrion Winfrey, who was the MVP of the Senior Bowl – an event the Patriots have traditionally played very close attention to. Whether he’s playing end or tackle, Winfrey knows how to get his way into the backfield. Just over 40 percent of his tackles last year went for a loss, including 5.5 sacks in 11 games. He’s slightly smaller Wyatt at 6-foot-4, 290, and his football instincts – while still good – aren’t quite the same. Still, he’d be a solid pick early in the second round.

    Logan Hall out of Houston is another versatile defensive lineman who is expected to go early in the first round. Hall mainly played tackle for the Cougars, but his frame (6-foot-6, 283 pounds) and athleticism (4.88 40, 7.25 3-cone) project him as mainly an edge in the pros. He should be able to contribute across the line as a pass rusher right away, as he develops his run defending on the edge. It’s not unrealistic to think he could be a three-down player by the end of his rookie deal, especially if he can get his lateral movement to line up with his play length.

    At Texas A&M, DeMarvin Leal played mostly tackle but in a 3-4 system projects as more of an end on early downs then kicking inside as a pass rusher. He showed flashes of potential first round talent at times for the Aggies, but just not consistently enough – especially against elite opponents.

    Let’s move on to defensive ends, starting with San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas. In his first and only season as a primary starter, Thomas was incredibly productive for the Aztecs with 20.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks in 14 games. He’ll need to put on muscle to play on the edge in a 3-4 system like the Patriots run, but he’s not incredibly far off from an ideal playing size (6-foot-4, 267 pounds). If he can due that, his ability to truly set the edge could lead to a long, successful career in New England. Drae Harris of The Draft Network compares Thomas to former Patriot John Simon.

    Kingsley Enagbare is similar to Thomas in that he’s coming from a system where he played 4-3 end, but by putting on some weight (currently 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, although he lost some weight for the Combine) would be a fit as a 3-4 end in New England. Right now, he’s less of a ‘playmaker’ himself, but more of a guy who will set up plays for those around him by getting off the line quick, occupying blockers, and shifting the pocket. The Patriots have had success with those kind of players before, and that kind of skillset would play well along with Judon and Barmore.

    What if the Patriots want to go with a true nose tackle in the second round, to really help sure up their run defense? They could turn to another Senior Bowl standout in UConn’s Travis Jones. At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, Jones is the prototypical two down space-eating run defender who will open things up for those coming downhill from the second level. Outside of Davis, who really isn’t a true nose, Jones is likely the best interior-specific player in this draft.

  • Round 3

    LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 04: Joshua Paschal #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats on defense against the ULM War Hawks at Kroger Field on September 04, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – SEPTEMBER 04: Joshua Paschal #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats on defense against the ULM War Hawks at Kroger Field on September 04, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    Right now, the second round is projected to be crowded when it comes to defensive linemen thanks to a number of strong workouts at the Combine and Pro Days. That’s left the third round somewhat thinner, although it’s very possible a couple of those second round players fall.

    So, who has a third round grade? Joshua Paschal out of Kentucky is among the most textbook fits for the Patriots in this draft. He’s a multi-year starter and captain from an SEC school, and can play all across the defensive line. Paschal is a very technically sound player who can contribute on all three downs.

    Phidarian Mathis was the starting defensive tackle for Alabama this season, and the team’s top run stopper up front. He’s not a true nose, as he wins more with an explosive first step, raw strength, and a deep tool box. While his pass rushing skills don’t jump off the tape, he projects to grow that aspect of his game and could potentially become a three-down interior lineman.

  • Early Day 3

    Florida Gators defensive lineman Zachary Carter (6) get the crowd excited. The Florida Gators played the University of South Florida Bulls Saturday September 11, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun)

    Florida Gators defensive lineman Zachary Carter (6) get the crowd excited. The Florida Gators played the University of South Florida Bulls Saturday September 11, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun)

    This year’s draft class is especially strong at the nose tackle position. That really starts to become apparent as Day 3 gets underway.

    John Ridgeway out of Arkansas had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, which should put him on the Patriots’ radar. The Patriots have also taken six players from the Razorbacks’ program since 2010, which is tied for the second most from any school. At 6-foot-5, 321 pounds he’s a prototypical early-down nose tackle.

    Slightly behind Ridgeway on the board is another two-down nose tackle UCLA’s Otito Ogbonnia. Also a Senior Bowl participant, Ogbonnia is a three-year starter described as a “good worker with high football character” by NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein. Ogbonnia checked in at the Combine at 6-foot-4, 324 pounds. At UCLA, Ogbonnia played for Chip Kelly, who is reportedly good friends with Bill Belichick.

    Sticking with Belichick preferred programs, Zachary Carter is a multi-positional lineman out of Florida. At 6-foot-4, 282 pounds Carter projects mainly as a pass-rush specialist off the edge, but has experience rushing up the middle as well. Carter c’s athleticism should allow him to contribute as a situational pass rusher right away, as well as in a special teams role. At the same time, if he can sure up his technique on the edge and become a more consistent run defender he has an impact-player ceiling.

    Minnesota’s Esezi Otomewo is another upside pick, although he’s more of a project player than Carter. At 6-foot-5, 282 pounds, Otomewu was a primarily run-stopping defensive end for the Gophers.

  • Late Day 3

    Kentucky nose guard Marquan McCall (50) reacts after a stop during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.

    Kentucky nose guard Marquan McCall (50) reacts after a stop during a NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen/USA Today Network)

    Starting the late rounds with the nose tackles again, Marquan McCall from Kentucky is one of the biggest players in this draft. McCall is this low on the board because there are concerns about his conditioning after he played last season at 379 pounds. However, he’s spoken about his work to get in better shape, and the results have showed. He measured in at the Combine at 6-foot-3 and 342 pounds, a much more realistic playing weight. Clearly, he still has plenty of size and should be able to clog up the middle of the line of scrimmage at the next level.

    Another option if the Patriots want to add some serious size is Noah Elliss from Idaho. At the Combine, Elliss measured in at 6-foot-4, 346 pounds – down from the 367 pounds he played at last year for the Vandals. Like McCall, he’s purely an early down space eater. He’s the nephew of former Lions Pro Bowl defensive tackle and currently Utah defensive line coach Luther Elliss.

    Continuing on with players from NFL families, Michigan defensive tackle Chris Hinton is the son of former All-Pro Colts and Falcons tackle Chris Hinton. The younger Hinton is a relatively smaller defensive tackle at 6-foot-4, 305 pounds who’s strong technique helps him win both against the run and as a pass rusher from the interior. He’s relatively limited athletically which drops his ceiling, but he could be a good, versatile depth option.

    Another versatile player expected to go in this range is LaBryan Ray from Alabama. Ray was limited significantly by injuries in his five years with the Tide, but was able to play 11 games last year and showed flashes of NFL ability. At 6-foot-4, 283 pounds he’s played mostly on the interior but could fill an edge role in a 3-4 defense as well if he can strengthen his lower body.

    Closing with a project player who is once again from an NFL family, Notre Dame’s Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa is the cousin of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa-Amosa is an end prospect with good athleticism at 6-foot-2, 270. He’s still very raw technically having played just 39 games in five seasons with the Irish. A team captain with a big-time motor, there may be enough there for the Patriots to give him a look late in the draft.

  • UDFAs

    Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96) defends Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) during the first half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (Junfu Han/USA Today Network)

    Michigan State defensive end Jacub Panasiuk (96) defends Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) during the first half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (Junfu Han/USA Today Network)

    Wrapping up with two UDFA’s – one nose tackle, and one defensive end. If the Patriots want to add a big nose tackle without using a draft pick, D.J. Daniel of Arizona State projects to be one of if not the top UDFA at the position. He checks in at 6-foot-3, 327 pounds and has shown an ability to hold ground even when facing double teams.

    At end, Jacub Panasiuk comes out of Michigan State with plenty of experience having started 43 games in five seasons. He’s a high effort player who could be able to contribute on special teams right away and compete for a backup role on defense.