As the 2019 NFL Draft draws near, Patriots.com looks at prospects at each position that might make sense for New England.
The Patriots lost one of the biggest-money free agents of the offseason with Trey Flowers heading to Detroit. But New England also restocked the position a bit with the trade for productive, versatile veteran Michael Bennett. There is also youth on the edge with Deatrich Wise Jr., former top pick Derek Rivers and Keionta Davis, while John Simon returns as veteran depth. Still, in a pass-happy NFL, there can never be enough talent or potential on the edge of the defense.
1 – Montez Sweat, Mississippi State: Sweat is a pretty sweet pass rushing prospect whose talent should pull him off the board long before the Patriots pick. But a heart issue has Sweat's draft stock very much in question, meaning there is an outside shot he could drop to a New England team that's taken on plenty of medical risks in the past.
2 – Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Another guy who could very well be gone by the time New England picks, Ferrell would make a nice Flowers replacement. Ferrell may never be an elite NFL edge player, but he certainly would add upside depth to the Patriots defense and do all the things asked for at that spot in Foxborough.
3 – Joe Jackson, Miami: Jackson is a consistent physical presence on the defensive line whose game is based as much on power and technique as it is speed and quickness. The Hurricane gives maximum effort but may not have a super high NFL ceiling.
4 – Jachai Polite, Florida: Polite had a breakout final season with the Gators that included six forced fumbles. He can win one-on-one battles on the edge but may be more of a pure pass rusher than the Patriots prefer.
5 – Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion: A mid- or late-round prospect, Ximines is probably more of a sub rusher and outside linebacker in the NFL. He has impressive athleticism, a good motor and does a nice job closing on the ball and finishing plays.
OTHER NAMES TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
- Jalen Jelks, Oregon
- Christian Miller, Alabama
- Chase Winovich, Michigan
- L.J. Collier, TCU