According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, the New England Patriots are scheduled to hold a pre-draft visit with a very intriguing name: Florida State defensive end Conellius “Tank” Carradine.
Carradine entered the 2012 season as a reserve defensive end for Florida State, but following an injury in the season opener to incumbent starter Brandon Jenkins, Carradine was thrust into the starting line-up and really thrived. After picking up 11 sacks in his first 12 games, he went down with a torn ACL against Florida that was seen as a major setback to his draft stock.
Prior to the injury, Carradine was generating momentum as a top 15 draft choice. Now, he’s seen as a player who could possibly fall out of the first round altogether. Still, what makes this visit intriguing for the Patriots is that they haven’t been afraid to take a chance on a player with an injury risk before. In 2010, they drafted tight end Rob Gronkowski 42nd overall, despite concerns about his back. The move has worked out brilliantly. On the flip side, they chose cornerback Ras-I Dowling 33rd overall in 2011 despite serious injury concerns, and he has yet to emerge.
Carradine could be an intriguing option with the 29th pick. He could give the Patriots a legitimate pass rushing talent to develop across from Chandler Jones. He’s got the size, strength, and long arms (34 3/4'”) the Patriots love in their defensive ends. This visit could be nothing more than a health check. But if Carradine’s knee does check out, he’ll be an intriguing name to look out for when the Patriots are on the clock in this month’s draft.