2012 Patriots Draft: Analysis of Jake Bequette

The Patriots doubled down at DE/OLB (tripled down if you count Dont'a Hightower) when they selected Arkansas DE Jake Bequette 90th overall, after selecting the 6'5, 260 lbs Chandler Jones. Bequette stands at 6'4.5, 275 lbs, runs a 4.8 40 and an extraordinary 6.9 three cone drill. While his 9'5 broad jump leaves desire for a more explosive player, Bequette already possesses Belichick's ideal frame for an elephant on defense (6'5, 270, 4.8 40).

Most surprisingly, if you look at his combine workout, Bequette appears to have the fluidity and athleticism to develop into a solid coverage linebacker- at least out in the flat and between the down markers. He was a 42 game starter at Arkansas and developed into a true force. He was a two time captain and is recovering from a pectoral injury.

2008: 12 games (11 starts), 27 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 PBU

2009: 13 games (8 starts), 39 tackles, 9 TFL, 5.5 Sacks, 2 PBU, 2 FF

2010: 13 games (13 starts), 32 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 7 Sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FF, 2nd All-SEC

2011: 10 games (10 starts), Hamstring injury, 28 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 10 Sacks (#1 SEC), 1 PBU, 5 FF, 1st All-SEC

He does have visibly short arms (Chandler Jones has 10 inches of wing span over Bequette), but he makes up through sheer determination as he fights through to the whistle every time. The Patriots had to make a move for the top SEC defensive end in the draft as the Falcons, Colts, Bengals, and Giants were all picking next.

2010: Arkansas vs Texas A&M - Strong run defender, but shows that he needs to improve his balance when trying to turn the corner. He can get pancaked and taken out of the play. Also shows some skill standing up.

2010: Arkansas vs Kansas State - Great first step, but doesn't have an elite first burst. Could be much more dangerous with an initial burst. A lot of impact when asked to bull rush, but won't reach the quarterback unless asked to turn the corner. Lacks the speed and balance to consistently bend the corner.

2011: Arkansas vs Ole Miss - His arms aren't very violent and that's most likely what prevented him from being a bigger threat in the backfield than he already was. Sometimes he was moved out of run defense when he locked with a lineman and other times he over-pursued.

2011: Arkansas vs South Carolina - Developed a nice spin move and his first step burst has improved (although it may have hurt his balance further). Doesn't really get his hands up on swing passes over his head.

Strengths

Versatile as a stand up Elephant, 3-3 DE, 4-3 DE

Great step off the snap

Very able to set the edge in run defense and when asked to contain the quarterback

Stout run defender

Strong bull rusher

Great closing speed

Has developed a spin move and is learning to develop is pass rush

Learns as the game develops- notices tendencies and then beats them

Able to shed blockers to make a tackle in the backfield

Very disruptive and always goes for the football

Weaknesses

Sometimes able to bend the corner, other times gets stone walled or Tully Banta-Cain'd and run out beyond the pocket

Can get pancaked when he tries to drop his shoulder around the corner and has questionable balance

Will sometimes focus on blowing the defender into the backfield instead of making the tackle

Does not have violent arms to knock away blockers

Lacks speed to bend the corner on a consistent basis

While he has a great step on the snap, his burst leaves a lot to be desired

Here's National Football Post's scouting report and I happen to agree with all of it.

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Bequette is a player with proven ability on the field and is still developing an improved skill set. The Patriots are clearly in search of the perfect player and have made a point of bringing in 6'5, 260-270 lbs players by growing Markell Carter, signing FA Trevor Scott, and drafting Jones and Bequette. Belichick has a plan in mind for this type of player and he's made a point of filling the roster.

While Bequette looks to be more of a rotational player, don't count him out for a larger role as Belichick tries to improve the Patriots third down pass rush. Perhaps he's looking to create his own NASCAR package, like the Giants, in order to reach the quarterback and prevent long conversions. Bequette definitely can find a spot on the roster and he'll continue to develop as a player.

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