Coronavirus concerns have the New England Patriots working the phones during pre-draft meetings with prospects.
The Patriots recently talked to Boise State left tackle Ezra Cleveland on FaceTime, The Draft Wire’s Justin Melo reported Thursday. NFL facilities are closed outside of special circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so draft meetings are taking place via video teleconference.
Cleveland also met with the Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons, per Melo.
Cleveland has ideal size at athleticism at 6-foot-6, 311 pounds. He ran a 4.93-second 40-yard dash with a 7.26-second 3-cone drill, 4.46-second short shuttle, 30-inch vertical leap and 9-feet, 3-inch broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he also bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times.
Cleveland’s spider graph, via MockDraftable.com, shows his impressive percentiles vs. NFL offensive linemen.
Cleveland’s lack of arm length (33 3/8 inches) could push some NFL teams to move Cleveland inside to guard. Patriots left tackle Isaiah Wynn also has 33 3/8-inch arms, however.
Cleveland allowed three sacks, two QB hits and seven hurries in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. PFF noted Cleveland needs to work on his playing strength.
Cleveland is considered anything from a first-to-mid-round prospect. The Patriots could use additional depth on their offensive line with relative uncertainty at left guard, center and right tackle. Patriots left guard Joe Thuney was signed to the franchise tag and could still be traded. Center David Andrews missed last season with blood clots in his lungs. Right tackle Marcus Cannon could wind up being a cap casualty as the Patriots attempt to free up salary-cap space.
The Patriots lost backup center Ted Karras in free agency to the Miami Dolphins. Their current top reserves are 2019 draft picks Yodny Cajuste and Hjale Froholdt, both of whom missed their rookie seasons with injuries.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images