The New England Patriots have a handful of needs to address, as the NFL Scouting Combine nears.
The Patriots are in fairly dire need of pass-catchers, both at the tight end and wide receiver positions. New England also could use some offensive-line help, and given the number of defensive stalwarts on the team’s list of impending free agents, reinforcements soon might be needed on that side of the ball as well. Hell, the Pats might even need a starting quarterback a month from now.
NFL analyst Charley Casserly, however, believes Tom Brady is staying put, which should motivate the franchise to target pass rushing in the early rounds. Perhaps in the form of LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson, who Casserly deems as the player to watch for the Patriots at the combine.
“The quarterback question should be answered before April’s draft, and I think the Patriots won’t find a good value at TE or OL later in the first round,” Casserly wrote for NFL.com. “They could use a pass rusher and this class is deep with talent.”
Chaisson led the national champion Tigers with 6 1/2 sacks this past season to go along with 60 total tackles, 13 1/2 of which for loss. Chaisson will enter the draft coming off his redshirt sophomore campaign, so he’s “football young.” While there’s ample room for development, Chaisson’s raw ability and athleticism are apparent, and his versatility might appeal to Belichick and Co.
The edge rusher isn’t the only LSU product analysts have targeted as New England’s potential first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah has the Patriots selecting safety Grant Delpit at No. 23, which isn’t at all a bold suggestion, given the uncertain futures of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung.