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Experts react to Patriots 2017 NFL Draft picks

See what some of the experts are saying about the Patriots 2017 Draft class.

DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown St.

Round 3, Pick 19 (83) (from Titans)

Paul Perillo, Patriots Football Weekly

"The 6-4, 248-pounder fills what many believed to be one of the team's rare needs as a pass rusher, and his speed could be welcome addition on the edge if he develops."

"Coming from an FCS school, Rivers is far from a finished product but he has a couple of factors working in his favor.  First, his coach with the Penguins was Bo Pelini, the former Nebraska boss who spent nine years in the NFL including three as linebackers coach with the Patriots from 1997-99 under Pete Carroll. Belichick has a good relationship with Pelini and that background surely helped in his evaluation, and having an experienced NFL coach certainly helped Rivers with his development. Rivers also performed well at the Senior Bowl, which allowed talent evaluators to assess his abilities against solid competition." More

Mike Mayock, NFL Network

"Derek Rivers can get to the quarterback. I thought he was best suited to play 3-4 outside linebacker. What coach Bill Belichick likes is versatility in players. He can stand up off the ball as an inside linebacker and in sub-packages kick down." More


"Given how often the Patriots are in sub-packages (as much as 80 percent of the snaps in some years), and how the Patriots adopted a four-man rotation at the end of last season, Rivers has the chance to be an immediate contributor. At the least, because of how well he runs (4.63 in the 40-yard dash), he should factor into the special-teams mix from Day 1." More

Josh Liskiewitz, Pro Football Focus

"Derek Rivers impressed us during Senior Bowl practices, and further helped his draft stock by posting a sack and three total QB pressures during the game in Mobile. He has an outstanding first step off the snap, and also shows the ability to play with great leverage against the run. The Patriots will be able to play him situationally as a rookie, but he has the all-around skill-set to potentially be an every-down player in time." More

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

"Some scouts liked him as a first-round talent, others didn't like him much at all. I think he's going to a good spot to learn." More


"The wait through 82 picks (including a trade down Friday) was a long one for the Patriots. Landing Rivers could make it worthwhile. He's a hard-working edge rusher who will provide the defending champs some depth on passing downs. There were some folks who thought he could sneak into Round 1, so mid-Round 3 is a decent spot to find him." More

OT Antonio Garcia, Troy

Round 3, Pick 21 (85) (From Lions)


"Garcia is considered to be quite gifted physically but a bit raw, which is fine for New England since Belichick likely doesn't plan to have him on the field in 2017."

"But starting left tackle Nate Solder is entering the final year of his contract and the Patriots could be in the market for a replacement. Belichick has selected the heir apparent at that position a year early in the past. In fact, he did so in 2011 with Solder himself, who was taken 17th overall a year before mainstay Matt Light retired." More


"There's some significance to this move. Garcia has starting left tackle traits, but he's a great fit. He plays nasty through the whistle. He's a little grabby in pas protection. They'll straighten him up in New England." More


"It was easy to see why the Patriots would see some desirable traits in Garcia, who has length (6-foot-6 1/4), is athletic and plays with a nasty mean streak. Left tackle is a premium position, and that also explains why the Patriots would give up a late third-round pick (96) and fourth-rounder (124) to move up to the 85th spot to select him. Garcia is another small-school prospect who benefited from playing in the Senior Bowl, similar to Rivers, whom the Patriots selected two picks before him." More


"Patriots fans had to wait 83 picks for their defending champs to finally make their first selection, but just two for the next pick. Antonio Garcia was an excellent pass-blocker in 2016, as his 87.5 pass-blocking grade ranked sixth among FBS tackles. He is an excellent athlete with the feet to continue playing OT at the next level, but will need time transitioning from the "air raid" offense at Troy to the Patriots' more traditional offense." More


"He will be a nice depth for a year and Nate Solder is int he last year of his contact. This is a depth pick." More


"Guess the Patriots were bored after all. After waiting all the way until No. 83 to make their first pick of the draft, they turned around and dealt picks 96 and 124 to Detroit for this spot. Garcia is a developmental talent at tackle, and the Patriots have the pieces in place to buy him some time." More

DE Deatrich Wise, Arkansas

Round 4, Pick 25 (131) (From Seattle)


"Bill Belichick loves versatility on his defense and Wise brings that to the defensive line. He has some upside as a low end starter and should find his way into the rotation early in his career." More


"If he develops as hoped, he could be an end in a four-man front, possibly rush from the interior in passing situations, and play a 5-technique role in an odd front. Special-teams coaches Joe Judge and Ray Ventone will also find him a spot on the field-goal block team, assuming he is on the 46-man game-day roster as he learns behind Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich and Kony Ealy." More


"Deatrich Wise isn't a top athlete, but still cracked our top 100 prospects due to his play against the run. He ranked second among draft-eligible SEC 4-3 defensive ends in run-stop percentage, and his 82.4 run-defense grade ranked fifth among SEC edge defenders." More


"A powerful rotational DT prospect with some immaturity and concerns over his coachability." More

OT Conor McDermott, UCLA

Round 6, Pick 28 (211) (From Cowboys)


"Legendary Patriots' offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is the type of coach that develops late-round guys with McDermott's natural mobility and turns them into contributors, if not starters down the line." More


"If everyone is healthy, the Patriots have Solder, Garcia and Cameron Fleming on the left-tackle depth chart, with Marcus Cannon locked in on the right side. So, McDermott is a developmental tackle prospect who will be groomed with the future in mind." More


"Conor McDermott is a massive offensive tackle who measured over 6-foot-8 at the combine and has 343/4-inch arms. His 97.4 overall pass-blocking efficiency score ranked just 18th in the tackle class last year, but he gave up zero pressures on 7-step drops." More


"A three year starting LT and former TE, McDermott is a coachable player that needs to develop his strength more if he wants to make it a career as an offensive lineman in the NFL." More

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