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Patriots draft Arkansas TE A.J. Derby with the 202nd overall pick

The New England Patriots have drafted former Arkansas TE A.J. Derby in the sixth round (202nd overall).

The New England Patriots have drafted former Arkansas TE A.J. Derby in the sixth round (202nd overall).

2014: Played in 11 games with seven starts. Did not play in final two games of season against Missouri and Texas due to a knee injury. 2013: Played in seven games with one start. Finished season 19-36, 178 yards and 1 TD. 2012 (Coffeyville CC): Threw for 1,936 yards and 22 TDs while leading team to Region IV semifinals. 2011 (Iowa):Played in nine games and completed 3 passes for 30 yards. 2010 (Iowa): Redshirted.


40-yard dash: 4.69 and 4.75 seconds 
20-yard short shuttle: 4.51 seconds
Three-cone drill: 6.99 seconds


STRENGTHS: Big, physical and fast. Athletic in space with ability to create some separation out of breaks. Has speed after catch in open field. Posted impressive 54-yard touchdown catch and run against Alabama secondary that struggled to catch him. Can line up all over the field. Natural pass-catcher. Had only one drop during 2014 season. Showed willingness to catch throws over the middle and take the punishment. Unique perspective after playing quarterback and linebacker before move to tight end. Ability to add roster depth at two positions as emergency quarterback. Comes from football bloodlines. Father and uncle had stops in the NFL and his brother lettered at Iowa.

WEAKNESSES:Has only one year of tight end experience. Routes have very little polish to them. He needs time to learn the nuances of position. Run blocking very much a work in progress. Uses poor hand placement and fails to sustain blocks when in-line. Balance at contact needs to improve when blocking in spaces. Has habit of using one rather than two hands for difficult catches. Was unable to play in final game (Texas Bowl) due to knee injury and continues to heal.



BOTTOM LINE: Despite spending only one season at tight end, has the size and tools to become a move tight end who creates matchup issues for defenses. His draft value could be held down due to his lack of experience and below average in-line blocking, but combination of size and play speed should be intriguing to NFL teams.

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