New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

With the NFL Combine taking place this week, we’re about to find out which draft prospects the Patriots are meeting with this year. Typically, players will share which teams they’ve met with – both at the Combine and before – when they speak with media in Indianapolis.

This year, there’s a slightly different wrinkle for the Patriots though. The team took part in coaching the Shrine Bowl, so they’ve technically met with all of the players on the West team, having spent the week with them in Las Vegas. Which begs the question, how do we gauge the value of those ‘meetings’ compared to them speaking with players at the Senior Bowl or Combine?

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  • On Friday, Justin Melo of The Draft Network reported that the Patriots were one of 11 teams to ‘meet’ with Toledo defensive lineman Desjuan Johnson during the Shrine Bowl week. Go figure, given Johnson played for the West team.

    As it turns out though, Johnson may have gotten some more attention from the staff than other players on the roster. Melo added context to 98.5, saying that “they [the Patriots and Johnson] had lengthier conversations that went beyond basic practice necessities.”

    While that hardly means they were fitting him for a silver helmet with a Flying Elvis on each side, it does suggest their interactions with Johnson weren’t just about the Shrine Bowl routine. He seems to be a player they’re interested in.


  • Toledo DL Desjuan Johnson in a game against Ohio State. (Credit: Toledo Athletics)

    Toledo DL Desjuan Johnson in a game against Ohio State. (Credit: Toledo Athletics)

  • At 6-foot-2, 267 pounds, Johnson was a force in the backfield for the Rockets the last two seasons. He had 12.5 tackles for a loss including 4.5 sacks in 13 games in 2021, then last year continued to build those numbers up with 16.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks.

    On the field at the Combine, Johnson will try to prove to teams he’s explosive enough to be a factor at the next level despite his smaller frame. He’ll be looking to build on the strong performance he had at the Shrine Bowl.

    Johnson is the second player to reportedly have met with the Patriots this offseason. The other was also a defensive lineman, Lane College’s Andrew Farmer.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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