The New England Patriots addressed O-line needs with back-to-back sixth-round draft picks Saturday.
After trading up to select Michigan guard Michael Onwenu at No. 182 overall, the Patriots grabbed Wake Forest’s Justin Herron at No. 195.
Herron was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Demon Deacons but is expected to bump inside at the NFL level. The Patriots listed him as a guard in their pick announcement.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 25, 2020
A former basketball player who didn’t pick up football until high school, Herron checks in at 6-foot-4, 308 pounds. Scouting reports praise his quickness but knock his play strength. He tested poorly in agility drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, however, ranking in the 1st percentile for his position in the three-cone drill (8.41 seconds) and the 25th percentile in the short shuttle (4.88 seconds).
“Herron is flexible and athletic with the foot quickness to compete in a camp as a zone-blocking guard,” Lance Zierlein wrote in Herron’s NFL.com draft profile. “However, he’s often in a state of flux and having to fight for survival due to suspect hand usage and body control. He may not have enough play strength to withstand NFL defensive tackles in one-on-one situations, but he does have intriguing athletic traits and may be looked at as a developmental prospect.”
Herron was a team captain in his final season at Wake Forest. He missed nearly the entire 2018 season with a torn ACL and turns 25 in November.
The Patriots have a history of shifting college tackles to guard, having done so with 2016 third-round pick Joe Thuney. New England now has doubled up at three positions in the 2020 draft, selecting edge rushers Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings, tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene and Unwenu and Herron.