Patriots’ NFL Draft Fits: Grady Jarrett Among Nose Tackle Options (Videos)


April 2, 2015

The New England Patriots must replace the irreplaceable this offseason.

Vince Wilfork, who bookended his Patriots career with Super Bowl victories, left via free agency for the Houston Texans, which leaves Sealver Siliga as the team’s lone prototypical nose tackle. Siliga, veteran Alan Branch, second-year pro Dominique Easley and Chris Jones would rotate at defensive tackle if the season started today, but the Patriots could afford to inject more youth and skill into that defensive line. Siliga has the upside to take over Wilfork’s role, but he was injury prone in 2014, and the Patriots could use two young big bodies up front to improve their run defense.

Easley, who was the Patriots’ first-round pick in last year’s draft, plays a different role than Wilfork. Easley is just 6-foot-2, 290 pounds, and his best role is as an interior pass rusher, not a space-eating nose tackle. Easley struggled because of injuries last season, but he could be due for a breakout year.

Fortunately for the Patriots, this is the perfect draft to need a big defensive tackle. Six nose tackles in the 2015 NFL draft are worthy of being selected when the Patriots are picking at No. 32 overall. Since there’s so much talent at that position at the top of the draft, it might make more sense to take a defensive tackle early than a cornerback — another one of the Patriots’ top needs.

Top prospects Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown could be gone when the Patriots are picking in the first round, but they should be able to select Florida State’s Eddie Goldman, Oklahoma’s Jordan Phillips, Iowa’s Carl Davis or Clemson’s Grady Jarrett. The Patriots spoke with Shelton and Brown at the NFL Scouting Combine. They showed interest in Phillips and Jarrett at their respective pro days, according to a source. Goldman reportedly has a visit scheduled with the Patriots.

See how the draft’s top nose tackles could fit the Pats >>

Patriots’ 2015 NFL draft fits: Defensive tackles, running backs, cornerbacks, wide receivers, linebackers

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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