Patriots Are Most Likely To Take These Edge Rushers Based On Draft History


Apr 6, 2020

The New England Patriots don’t exactly have a “type” when it comes to drafting edge defenders.

Since “edge defender” is more of a broad term for a player who could play on the line of scrimmage as a defensive end or standing up as an outside linebacker, the Patriots have drafted players ranging from 248 pounds all the way up to 274 pounds.

The Patriots do seemingly have athletic standards when it comes to draftable edge defenders, however.

Below is the Patriots’ edge defender draft history, including their average measurables compared to the NFL’s.

(Click image for a link to a full table.)

The Patriots like a tall edge defender with an above-average 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, short shuttle, vertical leap and broad jump. Overall, Patriots edge defenders are at least as athletic as the NFL’s average defensive end or outside linebacker.

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Here’s a complete list of edge defenders who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine. We highlighted each measurable in green if it was better than the average Patriots drafted edge defender. We highlighted it in red if the Patriots have never drafted an edge defender with that poor of a testing number.

(Click image for a link to the full table.)

Some takeaways:

— Casey Toohill is a late-round prospect more known for his pass-rushing prowess than his ability as a run defender. He certainly fits the Patriots’ athletic profile, however.

— Alton Robinson is a mid-round prospect who could be a good fit at the end of the third. He had 10 sacks in 2018 as a junior. Jabari Zuniga is another player who could be selected in the third round.

— Among early-round prospects, Terrell Lewis, Zack Baun and Yetur Gross-Matos are the best fits from a testing perspective. Baun is undersized but would play a more hybrid role anyway. We included him in our linebacker fits, as well.

— Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa has a lot of red highlights on his chart. He’s been compared to former Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers and is a fringe first-round prospect. He does not meet any of the Patriots’ athletic standards, however. He’s a fit simply based on his height, weight and length.

— Only five players — Baun, Toohill, Derrek Tuszka, Curtis Weaver and Jonathan Greenard — posted 3-cone drills better than the Patriots’ average drafted edge defender.

— Weaver is a potential second-round pick. Pro Football Focus compared him to former Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard.

— Greenard is a second- or third-round prospect with some injury concerns. He has long arms and dominated as a run defender.

— Tuszka was super productive at the FCS level. He’s a later-round prospect who looks and tested like a poor man’s Chase Winovich.

— While there is no perfect edge prospect for the Patriots in this draft, they do seemingly have plenty of draftable options based on testing numbers. Baun, Toohill, Greenard and Tuszka are players that particularly stand out to us.

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Thumbnail photo via Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports Images
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