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Patriots draft Navy LS Joe Cardona with the 166th overall pick

The New England Patriots have drafted former Navy LS Joe Cardona in the fifth round (166th overall).


STRENGTHS: Taught by father to long ­snap when he was younger to give him best chance to make the football team. Extremely accurate and consistent as snapper for punts over last four years and field goals over last three. Snaps have been clocked at 41 mph, which is considered outstanding. Snaps with power and doesn't show a prominent hitch in his delivery.

WEAKNESSES:Not as much of a factor in coverage as teams would like. Must improve breaking down in space and challenging the punt returner consistently. Facing a five-year Naval commitment that could delay his opportunity in the NFL unless given special dispensation.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Round 7 or priority free agent

SOURCES TELL US: "He will play in our league until he wants to quit. Guys like this have way more value to teams than people realize." -- NFC special teams coach


BOTTOM LINE:While smaller than many NFL long snappers and a very average athlete to go with it, Cardona has been able to add muscle to his frame over the last 16 months and his elite accuracy over four years at Navy has NFL teams interested. Cardona snaps with above-average power and proficiency and has a legitimate shot to become the fourth long snapper drafted in NFL history.

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