Patriots Draft Trends: Athleticism At Defensive Tackle Not Valued Heavily

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No one will ever accuse Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots of having bad taste in interior defensive linemen.

From Richard Seymour to Malcom Brown, Belichick has a very solid track record of drafting defensive tackles and five-technique defensive ends since taking over the team in 2000.

Here’s every interior defensive lineman the Patriots have selected since Belichick was hired:

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— It’s difficult to pigeonhole every Patriots interior defensive lineman into one list, because there’s always been a clear divide between nose tackles and smaller interior defensive linemen, who play five-technique defensive end and three-technique defensive tackle.

— It’s interesting to note how many of the Patriots’ interior defensive linemen, including Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and Dominique Easley, don’t have available testing numbers. If they did, the Patriots’ average athleticism might rise considerably.

— It’s also worth noting the similarity of Vince Wilfork and Malcom Brown’s testing numbers.

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— Smaller Patriots interior defensive linemen have above average length and vertical jumping ability. They also have average 10-yard dash times.

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— Bigger Patriots defensive tackles are only above average in size, though they run and jump nearly average for their weight.

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— The Patriots clearly don’t value agility drills when it comes to defensive tackle, which makes sense because those players aren’t forced to start and stop on a dime or turn corners quickly.

— The Patriots clearly do value explosion to a certain extent, since their drafted defensive tackles have above average vertical leaping ability.

To get a better sense of what the Patriots look for in defensive tackles, let’s look at other young players who have had success in their system.

Chris Jones
Height: 73.625 inches
Weight: 302 pounds
Arm length: 32.75 inches
Hand size: 9 inches
40-yard dash: 5.10 seconds
10-yard dash: 1.87 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.34 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.44 seconds
Bench press: 30 reps
Vertical jump: 31 inches
Broad jump: 105 inches
— Jones has above an above average 40 time, 3-cone, short shuttle, bench, vertical leap and broad jump.

Sealver Siliga
Height: 73.75 inches
Weight: 305 pounds
Arm length: 34.5 inches
Hand size: 10 inches
40-yard dash: 5.38 seconds
10-yard dash: 1.85 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.70 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.75 seconds
Bench press: 29 reps
Vertical jump: 29 inches
Broad jump: 100 inches
— Siliga has above average length, hand size and bench strength.

Akiem Hicks
Height: 76.625 inches
Weight: 318 pounds
Arm length: 35.125 inches
Hand size: 10.25 inches
40-yard dash: 5.23 seconds
10-yard dash: 1.77 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.39 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.86 seconds
Bench press: 27 reps
Vertical jump: 32 inches
Broad jump: 110 inches
— Hicks has above average height, weight, arm length, hand size, 3-cone agility and vertical and broad jump explosion.

The Patriots seem to value vertical leaping ability over other testing numbers at defensive tackle. We’ll have a better sense of which draft-eligible players the Patriots could show an interest in this April after next week’s NFL Scouting Combine.

NESN.com will go position by position to analyze the Patriots’ draft trends prior to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. Look through our cornerbackrunning backlinebacker, wide receiverdefensive end and offensive line trends.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown (90) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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