Offensive tackle is an underrated need for the New England Patriots entering the 2019 NFL Draft, and they reportedly are taking a close look at Ole Miss’s Greg Little.
The Patriots are among the teams showing “significant interest” in Little ahead of next week’s draft, according to a report Monday from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
Little is the 11th-ranked offensive tackle by Scouts, Inc. but ranks considerably higher on other big boards. Pro Football Focus considers him the sixth-best tackle in this year’s class, and draft expert Dane Brugler of The Athletic has him ranked fifth among prospects at his position.
After earning a starting spot midway through his freshman year, Little started each of his final 29 games at left tackle for Ole Miss. He’s not an elite run blocker and might need to add some weight to his 6-foot-5, 310-pound frame, but he excelled in pass protection, allowing 26 total pressures and just three sacks in 993 pass-blocking snaps over the last two seasons, according to PFF.
Little is projected as a likely second-round pick who could sneak into the end of the first. The Patriots currently own the 32nd overall selection, plus two second-round picks and three third-rounders.
2018 first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn is expected to replace Trent Brown as the Patriots’ starting left tackle this season, but he’s no sure thing after missing his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles. Right tackle Marcus Cannon also turns 31 next month, and New England lacks any semblance of proven depth behind them.
Current backup candidates Cole Croston, Dan Skipper, Cedrick Lang and Ryker Mathews have six NFL appearances and zero starts between them.
Washington’s Kaleb McGary, Alabama State’s Tytus Howard and Kansas State’s Dalton Risner also have been linked to the Patriots during the pre-draft process, with New England reportedly bringing McGary in for an official visit.
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