NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots Held Virtual Meeting With Highly Touted O-Lineman

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The New England Patriots have their eye on an early-round offensive line prospect ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft.

According to a report Tuesday from SB Nation’s Justin Melo, the Patriots are among the dozen teams that have held FaceTime meetings with Louisiana-Lafayette O-lineman Robert Hunt.

Hunt was a four-year starter for the Ragin’ Cajuns, primarily playing left guard for his first two seasons before switching to right tackle in 2018. He projects as a guard at the NFL level, with The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranking him as the top guard in this year’s draft class.

Multiple scouting reports compliment Hunt’s “nastiness” as a run blocker. He held up well in pass protection, as well, allowing just two sacks and 11 total pressures in 605 pass-block snaps over the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus, after struggling in that area in 2017.

Hunt suffered a groin injury that caused him to miss the second half of last season and prevented him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine. He projects as a Day 2 pick.

“Overall, Hunt needs to clean up some bad habits from a mechanical standpoint,” Brugler wrote in his 2020 draft guide, “but his quiet feet, loud hands and competitive nature are NFL starting-level traits, projecting best inside at guard.”

At 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, Hunt is larger than most Patriots guards, who typically weigh between 300 and 310 pounds. It’s possible they view him as a tackle, as was the case with tweener Isaiah Wynn in 2018.

New England lacks proven depth at both spots after losing top interior backup Ted Karras in free agency and choosing not to re-sign swing tackle Marshall Newhouse. 2019 draftees Hjalte Froholdt and Yodny Cajuste could fill those holes, but they’re unproven after missing their rookie season with injuries.

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