NFL Rookie Free Agents: Patriots Nab Rutgers DE/LB Alex Silvestro

The Patriots have continued to add undrafted free agents to their training camp roster.  The latest comes at a position of need: pass rusher.  According to multiple reports, the Patriots have signed Rutgers defensive end Alex Silvestro, who figures to transition to outside linebacker in the Patriots 3-4.

Silvestro is a 6'3", 267 lbs pass rusher who played his entire collegiate career for the Scarlet Knights.  He is a solid run defender who was a three sport athlete in high school.  While he has prototypical size for a 3-4 outside linebacker, he ran only a 4.83 40 yard dash at his Pro Day in March.  He recorded 5.5 sacks his senior year and could compete for a practice squad spot.

The National Football Post had this pre-draft breakdown of Silvestro, where they had him ranked as the 52nd defensive end:

Possesses a tall, long frame, but lacks any kind of a burst as a pass rusher and struggles to keep his pad level down off the edge. Allows himself to get too upright into contact, struggles to quickly change directions when trying to slip blocks and isn't overly powerful at the point because of his inability to play with leverage.

Uses his hands well at times when run at and has the ability to extend his arms inside the frame of opposing linemen and work his way free. However, for the most part, he's overwhelmed/sealed on contact and typically only makes hustle plays five-plus yards down the field. Works hard in pursuit and is a real try-hard guy, but doesn't have the type of body control to break down and tackle ball carriers even when he does free himself from a block on the edge.

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