Conor McDermott Brings Size, Athleticism Patriots Covet At Offensive Tackle

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots apparently determined they had just two needs in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Patriots doubled up on pass rushers and offensive tackles, drafting defensive ends Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise and offensive tackles Antonio Garcia and Conor McDermott.

McDermott, a UCLA product selected 211th overall, fits what the Patriots typically look for in an offensive tackle. He’s 6-foot-8, 307 pounds with 34 3/4-inch arms, and he ran a 5.18-second 40-yard dash with a 1.81-second 10-yard split, 28.5-inch vertical leap, 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump, 7.52-second three-cone drill and 4.58-second short shuttle.

McDermott allowed just two sacks, seven QB hits and nine hurries in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus. He struggled early in the 2016 season against the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett.

PFF rated McDermott as a below average run blocker in 2016. He actually rated better as a run blocker in 2014 and 2015.

The Patriots now have Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle, Garcia and McDermott at offensive tackle. McDermott likely will compete with Fleming and Waddle for a roster spot, while Solder, Cannon and Garcia are locks.

Solder is on the last year of his contract, so it was smart for the Patriots to add multiple offensive tackles with their starting left tackle’s future in the air. Both Garcia and McDermott fit the mold of an NFL left tackle given their size and athleticism. It’s difficult to find a player with the measurables needed to play that position in the NFL, so it’s worth taking a few projects.

The Patriots used just four selections, a historical low for New England, in the 2017 NFL Draft. Now they’ll focus on picking up rookie free agents after the draft is complete. The Patriots have 70 players on their 90-man roster, so they have 20 spots to fill. Their biggest remaining needs are at linebacker, cornerback and safety.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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