INDIANAPOLIS — The New England Patriots wisely and predictably are looking at defensive linemen in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Patriots have met with the following defensive linemen either at the NFL Scouting Combine or Senior Bowl:
Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery: formal combine
Ohio State DT Dre’Mont Jones: formal combine
Kansas DT Daniel Wise: formal combine scheduled
Miami DT Gerald Willis: formal combine scheduled
Eastern Michigan DE Maxx Crosby: hour-long informal combine
Florida DE Cece Jefferson: informal combine
Clemson DE Austin Bryant: informal combine
Washington DT Greg Gaines: informal combine
Miami DE Joe Jackson: informal combine
Penn State DE Shareef Miller: informal combine
North Carolina A&T DE Darryl Johnson: informal combine
Boston College DT Zach Allen: Senior Bowl, informal combine
Texas DL Charles Omenihu: Senior Bowl
TCU DE Ben Banogu: Senior Bowl
Charleston DL John Cominsky: Senior Bowl
Maryland DT Byron Cowart: Senior Bowl
Georgia DT Jonathan Ledbetter: Senior Bowl
Iowa DL Anthony Nelson: Senior Bowl
Alabama DT Isaiah Buggs: Senior Bowl
Akron DE Jamal Davis: phone call
The Patriots’ top free agent is defensive end Trey Flowers, who might command more money on the open market than the Patriots are willing to spend. Defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown and defensive end John Simon also are free agents. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn could wind up being a cap casualty after being inactive as a healthy scratch for a stretch during the 2018 season.
The Patriots are returning defensive ends Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Keionta Davis and Ufomba Kamalu and defensive tackles Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler. Among those six players, only Guy has been a dependable starter.