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NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Wisconsin LB Joe Schobert

If the Patriots can't land a top tier LB in the 2nd round of the draft, Joe Schobert provides a nice alternative.

Will Joe Show come to Foxboro this May?
Will Joe Show come to Foxboro this May?
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have plenty of potential options to consider, including Wisconsin LB Joe Schobert. Schobert is a converted edge defender who walked on at Wisconsin. Converted edge guys (Rich Hill's Tier 4 LBs) seems to be the new type of Patriots linebacker these days with Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins being recent examples. Schobert offers the versatility to play the edge as an "Under" Strong-side LB in the Patriots 4-3 base defense as well as an off the ball player in their other packages. For those wondering what an "Under" Strong-Side LB is, here's a picture of the defensive formation.

Schobert measured in at 6'1" 247 with 31 1/2" arms at the Senior Bowl, so playing size is not a huge issue here.The versatility to play both inside and outside makes him a great scheme fit and provide depth behind the team's superstar linebackers. I think he's better suited to play off the ball and have Hightower play the "Under" Strong-side LB role and have Schobert play the Will Linebacker spot with Collins at the Mike. Schobert will be a core special teamer due to his speed and instincts while he competes for the 3rd LB role with Jonathan Freeny and Darius Fleming. The Patriots went with 3 LB in only 13.2% of their defensive snaps, so it's clear they aren't spending big bucks for that job. Schobert should be a solid backup at all three spots and may develop into a niche player in the future.

I'm on record saying the ideal LB match would be Joshua Perry from Ohio State. Since he's likely a top 40 prospect, Joe Schobert is probably the 2nd best fit based on past history in the draft. In terms of value and availability, Schobert may wind up as the best option for the Patriots. Schobert has been battle tested against some of the best college programs that includes Iowa who narrowly missed the college playoff and 2015 National Champions Alabama. Schobert's best two games in terms of box score stats came against those two teams.

Overall I expect the Patriots to have a shot at Schobert with the 92nd and 97th pick of the draft.