New England Patriots

Jan 22, 2020; Mobile, Alabama, USA; Alabama head coach Nick Saban at right talks with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
  • One of the biggest days of the pre-draft process is upon us. Wednesday is Alabama’s Pro Day, when personnel executives from all 32 NFL teams will get a close look as the players set to head from Tuscaloosa to the pros.

    This is an especially notable event for the Patriots. Since 2010, the Patriots have drafted eight players from Alabama – more than any other team in the NFL. They’ve also drafted more players from Alabama than any other school in that span, taking no more than six from any other program (you can find a full list of their favorite schools here).

    Six of those eight picks – including all of the last five – were made in the top 100. The Patriots don’t just turn to Alabama for talent, but for impact talent. That push has ramped up recently, with four Alabama picks in the last three years – including their first two picks last year in Mac Jones and Christian Barmore. Damien Harris (2019 3rd round) and Anfernee Jennings (2020 3rd round) are the other two.

    From their immense success on the field to Bill Belichick’s relationship with Nick Saban, there’s a lot to draw New England to the program. So, who might he look to add this year? Here’s a rundown of the draft targets and top projected UDFA’s in this year’s Alabama draft class.

    Note: Alabama’s Pro Day is so expansive, it’s split into two sessions. The majority of the players listed below will work out on Wednesday, but a handful will take part in the second Pro Day on April 13. 

  • T Evan Neal

    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

    Neal is arguably the top offensive lineman in this year’s class, and is in the running to be the first overall pick. It would take something wild for him to end up with the Patriots.

  • WR Jameson Williams

    Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) reacts as he scores on a long touchdown pass against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) reacts as he scores on a long touchdown pass against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Had Williams finished the 2021 season healthy, he’d be right there with Neal in the ‘untouchable’ category as the top receiver in this class and a likely top 10 overall pick. However, a torn ACL in the National Championship now has his stock slipping to the middle of the first round. Still, when healthy he is a 6-foot-2 burner who runs precise routes and elusive with the ball in his hands.

    It’s possible he falls to 21 if receiver-needy teams are focused on immediate impact, but his immense ceiling makes it seem likely a team will take a chance on him in the top 20 – especially given how many teams have multiple picks in that range.

  • LB Christian Harris

    Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) is pressured by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Christian Harris (8) in the fourth quarter during the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

    Harris is one of a number of rangy middle linebackers expected to go on Day 2 of this year’s draft. He’s towards the top of that group that also includes Chad Muma, Quay Walker, Leo Chenal, and Troy Anderson, and could end up being a top-50 pick. At 6-foot, 226 pounds he’s undersized compared to the typical Patriots linebackers, but if they’re truly committed to fielding a faster zone-based defense, Harris would be a great fit in that transition.

  • DL Phidarian Mathis

    Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) tackles Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]  College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati

    Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) tackles Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

    A captain for the Tide in 2021, Mathis helped fill the hole left on the defensive line by Christian Barmore’s departure. Like Barmore, Mathis wins more with athleticism than mass (6-foot-4, 210 pounds). He’s more of a run stopper than pass rusher, but isn’t a liability as an interior rusher on early downs and can push the pocket from the interior when needed.

    Mathis has the versatility to play all along the defensive line, a trait the Patriots have valued highly. Pairing Mathis with Barmore could create some interesting athletic mismatches up front. Mathis is currently projected to be a late second or early third round pick.

  • WR John Metchie

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - NOVEMBER 06:  John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pulls in this touchdown reception against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 06: John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pulls in this touchdown reception against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    One of the most interesting prospects on this list, it feels just as likely Metchie could go at the end of the first round as it does he could go early in the third. A torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game hurt his draft stock, but recent reports and workout videos suggest he could miss minimal time this upcoming season.

    While he doesn’t have the upside of Jameson Williams, Metchie still projects to be one of the best receivers in this draft if he hits his ceiling. His skillset would be well-suited to the Patriots’ offense – he’s a technician as a route runner and can line up both outside and in the slot. Once he separates, his speed makes him a threat after the catch, especially at the short and intermediate levels.

    On top of all of that, Metchie has experience working with Mac Jones. During Jones’ lone full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, Metchie posted 55 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns as the team’s second receiver playing opposite Hesiman winner DeVonta Smith.

  • RB Brian Robinson

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 23: Brian Robinson Jr. #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball against Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images )

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 23: Brian Robinson Jr. #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball against Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images )

    Robinson is one of the more well-rounded backs in this class. He can contribute as a ball carrier, a receiver, and as a blocker. In 2021, he put up 1,639 all-purpose yards with 16 touchdowns as the Tide’s feature back.

    If the Patriots are looking to add depth at the position and don’t mind making a top-150 investment, Robinson would make a lot of sense as a target early on Day 3. He could be both an early-down back or pass-catching back in their system, similar to the role Rex Burkhead had during his time in Foxborough.

  • CB Josh Jobe

    Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Josh Jobe (28) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    In a draft that’s not incredibly deep when it comes to outside corners, Jobe stands out as a strong option right around the 100th pick. Jobe was incredibly productive as a junior in 2020, leading the SEC with 11 pass breakups. However, he was more inconsistent in 2021.

    Part of the reason Jobe – who began the year as a projected top-50 pick – may fall this far is lack of scheme versatility. He played almost exclusively press man corner at Alabama, and may translate better as a safety in other schemes. However, the Patriots would likely have him playing press man, so they may see his slide as a chance for a value pick. There’s other parts of Jobe’s game the Patriots may like including his overall physicality, willingness as a tackler, and special teams experience.

  • CB Jalyn Armour-Davis

    Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Florida Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter (4) in the first half. Florida Gators played their first SEC game against Alabama at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon, September 18, 2021, in Gainesville, FL. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

    Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Florida Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter (4) in the first half. Florida Gators played their first SEC game against Alabama at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon, September 18, 2021, in Gainesville, FL. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

    Alabama’s other outside corner, Armour-Davis doesn’t have the multi-year starting experience Jobe does but may be the higher-upside option of the two players. He’s bigger than Jobe at 6-foot-1, 197 pounds, and ran an impressive 4.39 40 at the Combine.

    Like Jobe (and most Alabama cornerbacks for that matter) he’s a willing tackler who can contribute on special teams as well as defense. Projected to go in the fifth round, he seems like a logical fit with a Patriots team that has done a great job developing technically raw an inexperienced cornerbacks over the years. He’d make a lot of sense as a Day 3 pick, especially if the team elects to double-dip at the position.

  • DL LaBryan Ray

    TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 23: LaBryan Ray #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reaches for Hendon Hooker #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images)

    Ray is another athletic and versatile defensive lineman. He wasn’t quite as productive as Mathis, and dealt with some injuries issues during his collegiate career which resulted in him playing just two full seasons. Yet when on the field he’s shown some upside as an edge setter and interior pass rusher, and like Mathis would be an interesting complement to Barmore. He’s currently projected to go late on Day 3.

  • Slade Bolden

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Slade Bolden #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball after a reception during the second quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Slade Bolden #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball after a reception during the second quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    Mac Jones’ former roommate, Bolden is a converted quarterback that played slot receiver for the Tide in 2021. At that spot, he’s able to get himself open in the short and intermediate areas of the field, and picks up yards after the catch with an aggressive running style. He also contributed on special teams. A projected seventh-round pick or priority UDFA, he’d be a logical replacement for Gunner Olszewski, who is now in Pittsburgh.

  • OLB Christopher Allen

    Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen (4) sacks Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) for a loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen (4) sacks Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) for a loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

    Injuries limited Allen to just 19 games in five seasons at Alabama. When he was on the field though he was a force, with 13 tackles for a loss including six sacks in 11 games in 2020 – his only full season. He’s raw, but could make sense as a low-risk, high-upside player in the seventh round or as a UDFA.

  • OL Chris Owens

    Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Chris Owens (79) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    A six-year player and three-year starter who’s played guard tackle and center, Owens’ experience, versatility, and size (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) make him a logical fit for the Patriots. He projects best to guard in the NFL, but can realistically offer depth across the offensive line. He’s currently projected to be a UDFA.

  • S Daniel Wright

    Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Daniel Wright (3) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Daniel Wright (3) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Wright arrived at Alabama as a four-star recruit in 2017, but injuries kept him off the field early in his career. He started seeing more playing time in 2020 and played 26 games over the last two years mainly in a reserve role. As a projected UDFA, he’ll look to stick on a roster as a backup free safety and special teams contributor.

  • Other Pro Day breakdowns

    Georgia
    Penn State
    Florida
    Tulsa