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Three Patriots Sleepers: Outside Linebacker

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The fourth in a series looking at potential Patriots "sleepers" at each position in the 2011 NFL Draft:

Greg Romeus, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh

HT/WT: 6'5", 268 lbs | 40 Time: 4.79 | Projection: 4th-5th

Greg Romeus isn't really a sleeper.  After all, heading into his senior season, he was projected by many to be a first or second round pick entering the 2011 draft.  Unfortunately, a multitude of injuries cost Romeus essentially his entire senior season.  Nonetheless, he has the prototype frame the Patriots look for in their 3-4 outside linebackers.  While he isn't overly athletic and only has average change of direction ability, he looked solid in coverage when manned with those responsibilities in 2009.  He doesn't have a fine-tuned repertoire of pass rush moves, but should be able to improve in that area with time.  The Patriots recently brought him in for a pre-draft visit, so if he checks out medically, he could be a sleeper option for the team in the middle rounds of the draft.

Ricky Elmore, DE/OLB, Arizona

HT/WT: 6'5", 260 lbs | 40 Time: 4.84 | Projection: 5th-6th

When you talk about production, Ricky Elmore is up there with the top defensive end/outside linebacker prospects in the country.  He outperformed Brooks Reed on a week-to-week basis in terms of sack production, despite seeing the majority of the double teams.  He's experienced, has ideal size, and is an intelligent football player.  The only thing holding Elmore back is his lack of explosiveness as a pass rusher as well as his shorter arms, which is something the Patriots often look for in their 3-4 outside linebackers.

Karl Klug, DT/DE/OLB, Iowa

HT/WT: 6'3", 275 lbs | 40 Time: 4.85 | Projection: 6th-7th

Karl Klug is a prospect that you may not have heard a lot about, but reminds me a little of a taller Dan Klecko, although he has drawn some comparisons to Mike Vrabel.  Klug played defensive tackle at Iowa, but likely projects to defensive end at the pro level.  Some 3-4 teams have been giving him looks at linebacker as well.  Despite his average speed, Klug moves deceptively well in space, and is a smart and instinctive player.  He likely would be able to set the edge with ease, and has a nice rip move as a pass rusher.  Of course, any 3-4 team drafting Klug knows that he will be a major projection, but with a 6th or 7th round pick, considering his relentless motor, he may just be worth a try.

Other prospects to watch:

Marc Schiechl, DE/OLB, Colorado School of Mines

Cliff Matthews, DE/OLB, South Carolina

David Bedford, DE/OLB, South Florida

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