So its the smallest draft class in Patriots history. Four players total taken in the NFL Draft this year for the Pats. Two edge pass rushers and two offensive tackles. These moves at the moment seem to be mainly to add depth at positions that lack it, and tend to have injuries throughout the year. The real value in this draft came from the picked that were traded or given up to get veterans this offseason. The likes of Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen, Mike Gillislee and James O’Shaughnessy were added through the draft, and add so much value to an already talented Patriots team. But the point of this article is to break down the incoming rookies thatwere taken in the draft.
Round 3, Pick 83: Derek Rivers, DE Youngstown State – Rivers style of play and size is somewhat reminiscent of Trey Flowers. He has great technique, and great hands against bigger and stronger blockers. He is not only quick in his ability to rush the passer, but he also is very good at playing the run. Although his size and build is similar to Flowers, the main difference is that he is much faster. There was a full .3 second difference in their 40 times during their respective combines. With the dominant pass rushers this season looking like Flowers and Ealy, with the veteran presence of Rob Ninkovich still around, he will currently be to add depth to this position. However, with Nink being injury prone, and on his tail end of his career at 33, Rivers could be a key piece in his 2nd or 3rd season going forward.
Round 3, Pick 85: Antonio Garcia, OT Troy – Garcia has a much more athletic build at tackle than the players the Patriots have had at the position in years past. Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Solder, and Marcus Cannon are all gigantic men that have played the tackle position over the past couple years. Garcia will add more versatility to the position. At 6’6″ and just around 300 lbs, he is much shorter and smaller generally than the tackles on the roster. This could be because the Pats like to use a heavy set formation when they power run, with an extra tackle playing a tight end position. He would fit this role perfectly with his quick feet, and ability to move a little faster than most offensive linemen. Maybe they will even pull a trick out of their sleeve and end up throwing this guy a TD pass on the goal line.
Round 4, Pick 131: Deatrich Wise, DE Arkansas – A former college teammate of Trey Flowers at Arkansas, and at the same position, this might have been a reason for him getting picked by the Patriots. They like the ability of Flowers, and they hope a teammate of his will have the same results. Another Arkansas tight end with similar intangibles, he is very versatile like Flowers and Ealy. He is very efficient in stopping the run, and can be very solid in pass rush also. He had 8.5 sacks in his junior season. He will add depth to the position just like Rivers, and most likely fight for a spot with Geneo Grissom.
Round 6, Pick 211: Conor McDermott, OT UCLA – This guy is a mammoth of a tackle. 6’8″ and 307 lbs, this guy fits the same build like Nate Solder. A perennial solid backup for Solder, who has had injury problems the past few years, he will provide much more support on Brady’s backside than Marcus Cannon or Cameron Fleming could. He is also very quick for his size, and ran under a 5 second shuttle, and a 7.5 second 3-cone drill. He has good footwork and could learn very well under Dante Scarnecchia, who loves monstrous tackles like him.
Written By: Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)