The New England Patriots head into the offseason needing linebacker help, whether or not they extend Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins’ contracts. Jerod Mayo announced his retirement, and the Patriots need a better third option than Jonathan Freeny or Jon Bostic.
The NFL Scouting Combine ended Monday, so we now have a better sense of which prospects the Patriots could select, based on the team’s draft trends and the players’ measurables. New England values size and speed over agility at linebacker, so here are the potential fits.
LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
6-foot-4, 254 pounds
Projected round: 2
Perry didn’t run the three-cone or short shuttle at the combine, but based on the Patriots’ typical measurables at linebacker, it doesn’t matter. Perry has ideal size and also impressed with a 4.68-second 40-yard dash, 33.5-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.
Perry had 105 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as a senior.
LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin
6-foot-1, 244 pounds
Projected round: 4
Schobert has the size, explosion, agility and vertical quickness the Patriots typically desire at linebacker. He ran a 1.63-second 10-yard split with a 33.5-inch vertical leap and 7.11-second three-cone drill.
LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
6-foot-2, 237 pounds
Projected round: 5 to 6
Martinez is slightly smaller than a typical Patriots linebacker, but he comes from Stanford — a New England farm system in recent years — and has impressive athleticism with a 1.61-second 10-yard split, 4.71-second 40-yard dash and 6.98-second three-cone.
Martinez had 138 total tackles in 2015 with the Cardinal.
LB Travis Feeney, Washington
6-foot-4, 230 pounds
Projected round: 6-7
Feeney, like Martinez, is slightly undersized for a typical Patriots linebacker, but he has the ideal speed and explosion for a special-teamer. Feeney, who had 17.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior, ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash with a 40-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump.
LB B.J. Goodson, Clemson
6-foot-11, 242 pounds
Projected round: Undrafted
Goodson checked almost every box, based on Patriots average measurables. He has the size, length, speed, strength, explosion and agility. Goodson had 108 total tackles with 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks as a senior.
Check out how every linebacker at the combine fared against the Patriots’ typical standards. Undersized pass rushers also are included in the spreadsheet.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Joshua Perry (37) reacts against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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