Free agency is the main event on the NFL calendar this week — but not the only event.
The pre-draft pro day circuit also is underway, and at least one member of the New England Patriots coaching staff was present Tuesday at Clemson’s prospect showcase.
Grayson Mann of TigerIllustrated.com spotted Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington in attendance. Covington’s presence was notable, as Clemson boasts a pair of talented D-line prospects in end Myles Murphy and tackle Bryan Bresee, both of whom are considered potential first-round picks.
Murphy was a two-year starter and three-year contributor on the edge for the Tigers, totaling 17 1/2 sacks and 37 tackles for loss in 38 collegiate games. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 268 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, and scouting reports praise his size, length and versatility.
From Murphy’s NFL.com draft profile:
Murphy has excellent size/traits and has been consistently productive in impact categories for three straight years. He plays with a plus motor and good first-step quickness, but his game isn’t really twitchy or explosive. He has finishing talent when he’s inside the pocket, but he needs to vary his rush angles and find an effective inside counter, as NFL tackles will be expecting his long-arm bull-rush technique. Murphy’s length and post-up strength could provide the scheme and positional versatility that puts him on every draft board. The traits and upside are there, but his skill level needs a boost to push the ceiling higher.
Murphy was one of several projected first-round edge rushers who met with the Patriots during combine week.
Bresee is a 6-foot-5 1/2, 298-pound D-tackle prospect who flashed his athleticism by posting the second-fastest 10-yard split for his position group at the combine.
Covington worked “very closely” with Bresee during Tuesday’s workout, per Mann.
The Patriots currently own the No. 14th overall pick in next month’s draft. Defensive line isn’t a major need of theirs — positions like offensive tackle, wide receiver, safety and cornerback all rank higher on their offseason priority list — but Bill Belichick traditionally has had success finding talented front-seven defenders in Round 1.
Patriots director of college scouting Camren Williams also was present Tuesday at Clemson as the Patriots continue to construct their draft board.