FOXBORO -- The Patriots traded up to make their fourth selection of the 2017 draft, grabbing UCLA tackle Conor McDermott with the 28th pick of the sixth round (No. 211 overall).
The Patriots were slated to pick at No. 216 prior to the trade, but they shipped their only remaining pick (No. 239 in the seventh round) to the Cowboys to move up five spots.
Now 6-foot-8, McDermott arrived at UCLA as a 235-pound tight end and consistently added weight throughout his career to get to the 315 he currently weighs. In that respect, he shares a similar story to new teammate Nate Solder, who also went to college (Colorado) as a tight end before filling out his frame and moving to tackle.
Though McDermott drew pre-draft praise for his size and athleticism, but there are questions about his strength. NFL.com quoted an AFC scout as saying McDermott was “just not strong enough to play in our league” during the pre-draft process.
One instance of that lack of strength came in UCLA's season-opener against Texas A&M. In that game, McDermott was pushed around by eventual first overall pick Myles Garrett, who registered a season-best 11 QB pressures.
As he discussed in a conference call following his selection, McDermott was named Tennessee's Division II-AA Mr. Basketball his senior year of high school. He admitted that he thought his future might have been in basketball before football became his priority.
"Growing up, I was more of basketball player," he said. "I definitely thought that would be my future, but I changed to football my senior year in high school and never looked back."
McDermott is the younger brother of Vikings longsnapper Kevin McDermott. Conor said that he is able to longsnap as well, having done it in high school and in a backup capacity in college.
The selection means the Pats split their first four selections between offensive tackles and edge defenders. They took defensive ends Derek Rivers (No. 83 overall) and Deatrich Wise (No. 131 overall), with Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia going with the 85th pick.