Prototypical Patriots: Athletes available if Belichick is looking for tackles
Will the Patriots be in the market for a tackle after taking Isaiah Wynn in the first round last year? Possibly. They don't have an obvious candidate for their swing tackle spot at the moment. Plus, there could be shakeup coming up front in 2020. Joe Thuney will be a free agent, and if the Patriots want the flexibility to move Wynn to guard, then a tackle from this year's draft class would make sense.
What do the Patriots like at tackle? Going through their tackle choices of the last decade, it's clear they want athletes. Vertical jumps sniffing 30 inches, broad jumps up over 100 inches and short-shuttle times under 5.0 seconds are preferred. Clock a 40 time in the 5.15-second range (helped by a good 10-yard split) and a three-cone around 7.5-seconds and you've got a shot.
Height mattered once upon a time, it seemed. Then they drafted Wynn. We'll have a few players here who don't meet typical Patriots standards but performed well enough in college or at the Senior Bowl to warrant consideration. Call it the Wynn Rule.
ANDRE DILLARD, WASHINGTON STATE, 6-5, 315 POUNDS
If Dillard played in the SEC instead of the Pac-12, you wouldn't be able to find a better fit for the Patriots. Still, he's among the best athletes at the position this year (4.96-second 40, 118-inch broad, 7.44-second three-cone, 4.4-second short shuttle) and would be a steal if he somehow got to the bottom of the first round. Don't hold your breath, though.
KALEB McGARY, WASHINGTON, 6-7, 317 POUNDS
Sticking in the state of Washington for this one. McGary is another tremendous athlete who may have positional versatility. No surprise the Patriots have done their due diligence on him during the pre-draft process. He doesn't have great length, but his 5.05-second 40, 33.5-inch vertical, 111-inch broad and 4.58-second short shuttle are all very impressive.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OL, Kaleb McGary, Washington
TYTUS HOWARD, ALABAMA STATE, 6-5, 322 POUNDS
How important is quickness to the Patriots at this spot? Howard's three-cone time (8.34) was so bad it might prevent him from getting a good long look in New England. And the level of competition he faced in college won't help. But he was solid at the Senior Bowl, taking care of his reps against NCAA sack record-holder Jaylon Ferguson and Georgia's Jonathan Ledbetter. He even beat projected first-rounder Montez Sweat in one of two pass-protection reps in Mobile. Despite his deliberate three-cone, Howard is a pretty good athlete, with a 5.05-second 40 and a 29.5-inch vertical.
DALTON RISNER, KANSAS STATE, 6-5, 312 POUNDS
Risner is an interesting athlete. His 40 time (5.3 seconds) and 10-yard split (1.86 seconds) were poor, but he tested solidly elsehwere. His 28.5-inch vertical, 110-inch broad jump and 4.52-second short-shuttle indicate he's explosive enough and quick enough to get where he needs to be.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OL, Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OLI UDOH, ELON, 6-6, 323 POUNDS
Humans this large generally shouldn't move this well. Udoh's 40-yard dash time (5.05) ranks in the 89th percentile for tackles at the combine, while his weight is in the 74th percentile. That's a unique combination. His 28.5-inch vertical is draftable by Patriots standards, as is his 105-inch broad jump. There may be concerns about his quickness (7.88 three-cone, 5.05 short shuttle), but the positives may outweigh the negatives here.
TREY PIPKINS, SIOUX FALLS, 6-6, 309 POUNDS
Never heard of Sioux Falls? Pipkins is the type of athlete that can shine a light on a little-known program. One of the most explosive tackles in the draft class (33.5-inch vertical, 114-inch broad, 5.12-second 40). His 225-pound bench-rep number (16) is a legitimate concern. Does a team -- Patriots included -- feel like they can mold Pipkins into an NFL-caliber player with a little more direction in the weight room?
MAX SCHARPING, NORTHERN ILLINOIS, 6-6, 327 POUNDS
Great size, though less-than-ideal length. Scharping had a strong broad jump number (108 inches) at the combine, and his short shuttle (4.69 seconds) was good enough. His three-cone time was a tick slow from a Patriots perspective (7.77 seconds), and he didn't run a 40, but if he's available in the mid-to-late rounds, he might be worth a selection.
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: GREG LITTLE, OLE MISS, 6-5, 310 POUNDS
By Patriots standards, Little is on the slower end (5.33-second 40) but had a great broad jump (113 inches) and a solid short shuttle (4.74 seconds). What the Patriots might like most about Little's game is that he excelled in the SEC, allowing just 26 pressures on 993 pass-protection reps in the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OT, Greg Little, Ole Miss
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: JONAH WILLIAMS, ALABAMA, 6-4, 302 POUNDS
Williams is a little short. He's not quick (8.01-second three-cone). And his jumps (100-inch broad, 28-inch vertical) are just shy of what the Patriots have typically drafted at this position. But . . . SEC success goes a long way. PFF had him down for only 12 pressures (no sacks) last season.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OL, Jonah Williams, Alabama
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: YODNY CAJUSTE, WEST VIRGINIA, 6-5, 312 POUNDS
Cajuste has been recovering from an injury during the pre-draft process, so we don't know exactly how athletic he is. But he has good size, great strength (32 bench reps), and an on-the-field demeanor that looks pro-ready. Like Williams, he allowed just 12 pressures last year, per PFF, and no sacks. (Williams had 466 pass-blocking snaps; Cajuste had 394.)
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OL, Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: CHUMA EDOGA, USC, 6-4, 308 POUNDS
Like Wynn, Edoga is on the short side. But Edoga's arms are very long (35 inches) and he was one of the most productive tackles in the country last year. PFF charted him as having a pass-blocking efficiency percentage of 99.3 (just three hurries in 304 pass-protection snaps), which is second in the draft class. At the Senior Bowl, he stopped BC's Zach Allen on three of four pass-protection snaps, and he kept Iowa's Anthony Nelson in check in both of their matchups, per PFF. That's pretty good work against top-end competition.
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: BOBBY EVANS, OKLAHOMA, 6-4, 312 POUNDS
Evans is just off the mark when it comes to most Patriots standards. He's just a shade under 6-5. He's just a tick slower than some of the others drafted at this position (5.2-second 40). But his experience at both guard and tackle, and his effectiveness last season on the outside (20 pressures on 441 pass-protection snaps) could put him on New England's radar.
2019 NFL Draft Highlights: OT, Bobby Evans, Oklahoma
WYNN RULE EXCEPTIONS: CALVIN ANDERSON, TEXAS, 6-4, 292 POUNDS
Anderson is a little short and a little light by Patriots standards. But they may be willing to overlook his size deficiencies if they feel like he can add bulk as a pro. Anderson's athleticism is enticing enough that he could be worth the investment. His 31-inch vertical, 4.45-second shuttle, 7.2 three-cone and 30 bench reps are all elite.