The New England Patriots lost defensive tackle Akiem Hicks in free agency, but luckily the draft has its most depth at the same position. Head coach Bill Belichick has spent his past two first round picks on defensive tackles Dominique Easley and Malcom Brown, but with veteran Alan Branch turning 32-years-old this season, the team would likely enjoy finding a young, high upside player to join the rotation.
Per NFL Draft Insider Tony Pauline, the Patriots are searching for some help at the University of Georgia.
"Defensive lineman Sterling Bailey timed just over five seconds in the 40 (.2 improvement) and was one-half inch better in the vertical jump (30.5 inches)," Pauline writes. "After the workout, Bailey met with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordination Matt Patricia."
Bailey is a 6'4, 285 lbs 3-4 defensive end, which means that he's a perfect and versatile defensive tackle for the Patriots defensive front. His 5 second 40 yard dash is a positive sign, as is his 30 inch vertical. His 7.46 three cone and 9'03 broad jump is towards the top of the rankings for defensive tackles.
While he doesn't possess stand-out statistics, he collected 9 tackles against the University of Alabama, which was sure to catch the attention of the Patriots scouts. He's an ideal flier in the 6th or 7th round.