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Experts react to Patriots 2018 NFL Draft picks

See what some of the experts are saying about the Patriots 2018 Draft class.

Isaiah Wynn, OL - Georgia

Round 1, Pick 23 (23)

NICK CASERIO, PATRIOTS DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL

"Isaiah has a lot of experience. He started for three years. He’s played both guard and tackle, he’s played multiple spots. He’s been productive in both of those areas, so he’s a good player, he’s got good traits, he’s been in a good program. He had to block a lot of good people in that conference, as you all know, you guys who all watch SEC football know there’s a lot of good football players down there, a lot of them got drafted tonight, there’s a probably a bunch that get drafted tomorrow, so he’s had to block those players. He has experience playing multiple spots so we’ll put him in the mix and see how it goes. Our whole philosophy on the whole offensive line is that we’ll put the best five guys out there and however it sorts itself out, it’ll sort itself out." More

Paul Perillo, Patriots Football Weekly

"Wynn was the more curious of the two first round selections, having spent the bulk of his Georgia career playing guard before moving to left tackle last year as senior. He performed well there in the tough SEC, and at 6-2 and change many draftniks project him as a guard in the NFL and have doubts whether he can successfully play on the outside.

To further add to the uncertainty, Wynn underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder after the Senior Bowl and will be limited in the offseason. He told reporters he planned to be ready for mini-camp in June but even if that turns out to be true he still will miss valuable on-field development time.

If Wynn can play tackle – and there are plenty of folks who believe he can – the pick makes a lot more sense. Kirby Smart, his coach at Georgia, believes in Wynn’s ability regardless of position." More

Mike Mayock, NFL Network

"Most of the league looks at him as a guard, but he fits what Dante Scarnecchia, the offensive line coach in New England, looks for. He's a left-tackle conversion for most of the league; however, in New England he might be a left tackle. He pops out of his stance, he fits a zone scheme. He's one of the best quick-set pass protectors I've seen in college football in years." More

Steve Muench, ESPN

"The Patriots don't have a pressing need at guard, where Wynn has experience. But they do have a pressing need at tackle after losing Nate Solder to the Giants, and Wynn has experience lining up at left tackle. He doesn't have ideal length for a tackle, so it will be interesting to see where they play him. He projects as a starting guard if he doesn't pan out on the outside." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"The Patriots kicked off the night with Isaiah Wynn who played left tackle exceptionally well at Georgia last season and may stick at tackle for the Patriots despite being undersized and looking more like a guard. He allowed only five pressures on 330 attempts in pass protection and he finished with the No. 3 grade in the nation as a run blocker at 91.0. Wynn has three years of strong grading, both at guard and tackle, and he adds positional flexibility to the New England offensive line." More

MMQB.com

"The Patriots did the right thing: Instead of finding Tom Brady’s replacement, they found someone to protect him. It was needed; Nate Solder is gone and Antonio Garcia, last year’s third-round pick, missed his rookie season with blood clots. At 6' 3", 313 pounds, many projected Wynn as an NFL guard—a position in which the Patriots are well set with Joe Thuney and especially Shaq Mason (though Mason’s contract is up soon). Playing devil’s advocate, here’s one question: if the Patriots are returning to a quick-strike, horizontal passing game—and trading Brandin Cooks suggests they are—do they really need to spend a first-round pick on a tackle? The nature of the scheme will protect the QB just as much as a blocker would. But having two first-rounders and two second-rounders makes this an easier trigger to pull." More

Sony Michel, RB - Georgia

Round 1, Pick 31 (31)

NICK CASERIO, PATRIOTS DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL

"And then the second pick there at No. 31 with Sony Michel - their backfield with he and [Nick] Chubb, you’re talking about two of the most productive players in the SEC. Sony averaged six, seven yards a carry over the course of his career. He’s an athletic player. Both of those guys, they’ve got a bunch of carries. Sony was productive in the passing game so both these guys are good football players and have good football traits. We hope they fit our program." More

Paul Perillo, Patriots Football Weekly

"The Michel pick doesn’t come without questions either. He is a dynamic back with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, as his 64 career catches indicates. He was part of a one-two punch with Nick Chubb that led the Georgia offense and carried the Bulldogs to the national championship game.

Michel has drawn comparisons to New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara, who took the league by storm with his multi-purpose skills as a rookie last season. But he also has a knee injury that was a significant red flag for some teams, and with James White, Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee already in the fold to say he doesn’t fill an urgent need would be an understatement.

Michel’s talent is unquestioned, and if his knee checks out the backfield will have a different element."More*

Mike Mayock, NFL Network

"Reminds me of Alvin Kamara. He's a violent runner, yet he's a make you miss guy. He's more powerful than people think. I think with the ball in his hands, he's as talented as Kamara. I don't think he's quite as advanced in the passing game, but he's got an opportunity with Tom Brady in that offense to be special early. " More

Steve Muench, ESPN

"This is a surprise considering that the Patriots haven't taken a running back in the first round since Laurence Maroney in 2006 and they have good depth at the position. It makes sense from the standpoint that Dion Lewis signed with Tennessee and Michel has the kind of versatility that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels values." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"They went back to Georgia to take Wynn’s teammate, Sony Michel, who adds a quick-cutting back with receiving potential to the offense. He ranked sixth in the draft class with an elusive rating of 95.1 last season, and despite seeing only 80 targets in the passing game in his career, Michel’s quickness should be a nice fit for New England’s scheme." More

MMQB.com

"Another pick, another piece for Tom Brady. The same analysis for the Patriots No. 23 pick (Michel’s teammate Isaiah Wynn) applies here—instead of chasing a replacement for Tom Brady, they tried to find him a weapon. Michel has the traits to of a foundational back. For receiving flex options, James White and Rex Burkhead will still get the nod. Overall, there’s great backfield diversity in New England." More

Duke Dawson, DB - Florida

Round 2, Pick 24 (56)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"He has experience essentially playing three [defensive backfield] positions. Pretty versatile player, played in the kicking game a little bit. He has a lot of experience doing multiple things. He’s played everywhere: safety, slot corner, perimeter corner. What’s the best position [here]? We’ll see."More*

Mike Mayock, NFL Network

"One of the most competitive cornerbacks in college football. His best home is inside at slot. Feisty. I think he's a nickel." More

Steve Muench, ESPN

"The Patriots signed Jason McCourty to compete for the starting spot vacated by Malcolm Butler opposite Stephon Gilmore. However, 2016 second-round pick Cyrus Jones has been a disappointment, and Dawson is at his best playing over the slot, so look for him to compete for the No. 3 role." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"The Patriots spent most of Day 2 trading down, but they did make one selection as they traded back up to get Duke Dawson. He allowed a passer rating of only 41.0 when lined up in the slot last year, eighth-best in the nation, after allowing a rating of only 64.6 (38th) in 2016. Given the value of slot defenders in today’s NFL, Dawson fills an important need for the Patriots’ defense." More

MMQB.com

"New England mixed and matched in the slot last season, and the hope is that Dawson can stabilize that spot. For that to happen, he must be proficient in man coverage, and it will be interesting to see if he gets reps on the perimeter. Bill Belichick is known for playing DBs in unusual locations." More

Ja'Whaun Bentley, LB - Purdue

Round 5, Pick 6 (143)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"This guy’s an awesome kid. Four-year starter, three-time captain – not a lot of people can say that. Pretty impressive… very smart, signal-caller [who] ran the defense at Purdue for a couple of different coaching staffs. We brought him in for a visit here in Foxborough and he was really, really impressive, someone we felt comfortable with."More*

Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network

"New England needed depth at linebacker so pick this makes sense in that regard. However, his lack of speed and overall range limit his versatility in a defense that typically values it." More

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"Bentley (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) is a physical off-the-ball linebacker who delivered some thunderous hits, but wasn't highly rated by some teams because of concerns about his speed. He wasn't invited to the NFL combine, but did participate in the Senior Bowl, where he played on the line of scrimmage. Such versatility could appeal to the Patriots, perhaps similar to Jonathan Freeny when he was with the team from 2015-2016 but with more potential upside." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"Ja'whaun Bentley is a downhill thumper who posted the nation’s top grade against the run at 95.0 while ranking fourth in the draft class with a run-stop percentage of 13.3. He has work to do in coverage, and may be limited to early downs at the next level." More

MMQB.com Scouting Report

"He’s big and physical, as Bentley thrives as a run-stuffer inside the box. He shows good instincts and packs a wallop when he arrives. He can’t run—he’ll have to come off the field on third downs—but he can fill a Vince Williams-type role as a 3-4 ILB who can fill in on early downs." More

Christian Sam, LB - Arizona State

Round 6, Pick 4 (178)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"Sam is probably a little bit more of a ‘will’ linebacker. His situation – a real successful high school program at Texas. He actually was a defensive back. He played safety in high school and then he got to Arizona State. He kind of was the spur, kind of the call it a ‘star walked-out will linebacker’ initially and then they moved him kind of to off-the-ball linebacker, a ‘will’ linebacker type. [He’s] athletic, runs really well, played for Coach [Todd] Graham, who we have a lot of respect for Todd and his program that he ran out there, a good relationship there. A smart kid, ran the defense, so between the two of them you’re talking about good mental capacity just in terms of handling volume, handling adjustments."More*

Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network

"Sam has more upside and versatility than the linebacker they previously selected with their 5th round pick. Don't be surprised if Sam gets on the field early. " More

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"Whereas fifth-round pick Bentley described himself more as a thumper, scouts have noted Sam's active athleticism, so the Patriots landed two different types of linebackers back-to-back. Sam could fit a similar profile to fifth-year linebacker Marquis Flowers, who played more in the dime package and on special teams. " More

MMQB.com scouting report

"Sam is a fluid mover with good size and typically gets to the right spots. He doesn’t have the take-on skills for an inside spot and is a little bit on the fringe athletically as a 4-3 WILL, but there’s enough for him to make a roster, with a future as a low-end starter or high-end backup." More

Braxton Berrios, WR - Miami

Round 6, Pick 36 (210)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"So, [he’s] an impressive kid. This guy’s really, really smart. He graduated in, I want to say three to three-and-a-half years, whatever it was. Played inside the formation at the University of Miami, really productive, really tough, good traits, smart, good quickness, was productive, had more opportunities here this season in Miami and he made the most of them."More*

​https://twitter.com/Gil_Brandt/status/990337017199259648

Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network

"Was there a more obvious landing spot for Berrios? The shifty slot receiver brings the toughness and reliability Belichick loves in his wideouts. He'll be in play for the team's starting punt returner job." More

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"Berrios fits the profile of successful Patriots slot receivers from a physical makeup standpoint (5-foot-8 5/8, 184 pounds) and also has potential as a dynamic, quick-cutting punt returner. Because of that, and how the Patriots' offense has brought out the best in slot receivers going back to Troy Brown in the early 2000s, Berrios was a natural pick to include as a Patriots target leading into the draft. Furthermore, Berrios seems to be the type of person the Patriots like to bring in to their culture, as he was a team captain, graduated as the valedictorian of Miami's business school with a double major and was named the ACC's top student-athlete." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"Braxton Berrios ranked eighth among receivers in the draft class with 680 yards gained from the slot." More

MMQB.com Scouting Report

"A pure slot receiver, Berrios has the short-area quickness to create separation over the middle of the field. He’s tough but especially small—short arms (28 inches), creating a minuscule catch radius, and a thin frame. He’s potentially a pretty good slot machine, but maybe not one who's part of a base offense." More

Danny Etling, QB - LSU

Round 7, Pick 1 (219)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"Here’s a guy, a Purdue transfer, went down to LSU and the thing about him – he played for Coach [Cam] Cameron in kind of a pro-style offense. He had some experience. The one thing he didn’t do – he didn’t turn the ball over. You look at his career production and this guy didn’t turn the ball over. I think it was 16-2 this year, a low percentage. He takes care of the ball, smart, pretty accurate thrower. There’s some good qualities and traits that we think we can work with and develop. He played against good people on a weekly basis, kind of like we talked about with Sony [Michel] and Isaiah [Wynn]."More*

Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network

"Most would consider this a surprise pick given the player himself and how much buzz there was about the Patriots selecting Tom Brady's replacement early in this draft. Etling operated from an offense that employed some pro concepts at LSU, but he's likely a practice squad candidate." More

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"Essentially, the Patriots' view of quarterbacks in the draft seemed to be that there were a few starting-caliber options and everyone else fell into the same category as developmental backups. Because of that, they didn't want to overdraft at the position and that explains, in part, why they waited until the top of the seventh round to make Etling the 11th quarterback selected. On top of Etling's on-field performance, another thing that likely appealed to the Patriots was his maturity. He's an older rookie, set to turn 24 in July, and it takes a wise-beyond-your-years mentality to walk into a quarterback room with Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer." More

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus

"Danny Etling posted a career-high 78.9 overall grade in 2017." More

MMQB.com Scouting Report

"A former top recruit at Purdue who lost his starting job and transferred to LSU, Etling rehabbed his stock a bit in Baton Rouge. He’s a bit underarmed, but has experience in pro-style systems, has the requisite size and has enough on his throws when he has a chance to set his feet. The issue is when he gets moved off his spot—his mechanics break down and he doesn’t have the arm talent to make up for it. He’ll be battling for a roster spot this summer." More

Keion Crossen, DB - Western Carolina

Round 7, Pick 25 (243)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"The way this guy kind of got on the radar screen initially was he worked out at the Wake Forest Pro Day, so that’s where he showed up and tested extremely well, so a lower level of competition, obviously, at Western Carolina. He showed up on a big stage just from a workout perspective. It really blew it out of the water. He’s undersized, just from a size standpoint, but he’s athletic. He runs well, he’s explosive, he’s real competitive, probably more of a perimeter corner. He played more on the perimeter at Western Carolina. We saw him work out there at Wake Forest, did a little more follow up work with him, had him in here to Foxboro to visit with him. He’s a player. He’s young, he’s athletic, he runs well, great attitude. When you guys talk to him, this guy’s got a lot of energy. He’s real positive, really upbeat, so hopefully he brings that mentality and that mindset here to New England when he shows up here in a couple weeks."More*

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"When picking late in the seventh round, teams often identify a standout trait to work with and then hope it blossoms into something greater. The Patriots have had several players fall into that category, and Crossen -- who wasn't invited to the combine, but showed up on the Patriots' scouting radar with a strong performance at Wake Forest's pro day and then was invited for an in-house visit at Gillette Stadium in which his upbeat personality made an impression on the team -- is an intriguing prospect to watch in that regard." More

Ryan Izzo, TE - Florida St.

Round 7, Pick 32 (250)

Nick Caserio, Patriots Director of Player Personnel

"So, here’s another guy, a good program, pretty consistent player, a three-year starter, more of an on-the-line-of-scrimmage player, very tough. Midwest, Northeastern kid from New Jersey. He played in a good high school program, went down to Florida State and they’ve had some good players down there. He was productive in their offense. He’s got smart, good traits. He was a player that we liked just in watching him. I mean, we’ve been watching Florida State over the course – they’ve had some different players at different levels offensively and defensively. We’ve been kind of watching this guy here for the past couple of years and just a solid, strong, consistent football player. We’ll put him in the mix there at tight end."More*

Mark Dulgerian, NFL Network

"The Patriots add one of the toughest TEs in this class. He loves to scrap in the run game and has the potential to make an immediate impact in that phase if he makes the team." More

Mike Reiss, ESPN

"His consistency and strength caught the Patriots' eye in recent years, which makes him worthy of taking a late-draft flier on. Even if he doesn't stick on the roster, it's always good business to have a tight end developing behind the scenes on the practice squad." More

MMQB.com Scouting Report

"He’s virtually a non-factor in the passing game, but Izzo might be the best blocking tight end in this year’s class. He’s big and strong throughout, capable of holding his own against defensive ends at the point of attack. Florida State often used him as a lead blocker in the run game, where he showed strength, coordination and nastiness landing blocks on the move. He’ll have a role as a blocking specialist, even if he never has move than a handful of catches in a season." More

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