Even prior to losing Trey Flowers, the Patriots properly replaced him by acquiring defensive end Michael Bennett via trade.
But New England still could use help at defensive end via a young player through the draft. This year’s draft is top heavy with pass rushers, but there are hidden gems to be found throughout the event.
Leading up to the draft, which runs from April 25-27, we?ll go position by position and draft a player who fits the Patriots in each round. We tackled quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, the offensive line, linebackers and cornerbacks last week, defensive tackles Monday and cornerbacks Tuesday. Now we?ll tackle defensive ends.
Picks: No. 32
Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
If Ferrell gets within reach of a trade, we wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots packaged some picks to move up in the first round. Ferrell is big, versatile and athletic. He was also productive in 2018, generating 56 pressures and 29 stops, according to Pro Football Focus.
Picks: Nos. 56, 64
Chase Winovich, Michigan
Slap No. 50 on him, because Winovich could be next in line for the Mike Vrabel/Rob Ninkovich role in the Patriots’ defense. He’s undersized at 6-foot-2, 256 pounds, but he’s a versatile player, capable of rushing the passer and setting the edge against the run.
Picks: Nos. 73, 97, 101
Anthony Nelson, Iowa
Nelson has ideal measurables for the Patriots at 6-foot-7, 271 pounds with 34 3/4-inch arms, a 6.95-second three-cone drill time and 4.23-second short shuttle. He needs to add some strength, but he has the frame to do so.
Picks: No. 134
Christian Miller, Alabama
Miller is just 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, but he has 35 1/8-inch tree trunks for arms.
Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
Crosby was a workout warrior at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s a favorite of PFF for his explosive plays.
Picks: No. 205
Justin Hollins, Oregon
Hollins is a nice late-round project at 6-foot-5, 242 pounds. He ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash with a 7.06-second three-cone drill. Can that athleticism translate to a move to linebacker?
Picks: Nos. 243, 246, 252
Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Smith is very undersized at 6-feet, 233 pounds. He ran a blazing 6.75-second three-cone drill and was another PFF favorite. He had 29 sacks and 56.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons with the Huskies. Similar to Julian Edelman, Bill Belichick might just draft Smith as a “football player” and figure out where he can play later.