Two linebacker prospects reportedly visited Gillette Stadium this week.
According to reports from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Alabama’s Rashaan Evans and Arizona State’s Christian Sam both had pre-draft visits with the New England Patriots, who have a need at linebacker entering the 2018 NFL Draft.
Evans, an athletic, off-the-line inside linebacker who also played some on the edge for the Crimson Tide, is considered one of the best players at his position in this draft class and is projected as a first-round pick. He could be an option for New England at pick No. 23, which the Patriots acquired from the Los Angeles Rams in the Brandin Cooks trade.
Sam led the Pac-12 in tackles last season with 127. He likely will hear his name called later in the draft, but opinions vary on when he’ll come off the board. Sam’s official NFL.com draft profile projects him as a fifth- or sixth-round pick, but Rapoport evidently believes he’ll go higher, projecting him as a second- or third-rounder.
“Sam’s athletic numbers were average at the Combine, but they look good enough on tape,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote on Sam’s profile. “His timed speed could cause him to drop a round or even two, but he has enough talent to become a solid NFL backup who can step into starting reps if needed.”
The Patriots currently own two picks in the first round of the 2018 draft, two in the second, one in the third, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.
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