While free agency is getting into full swing, the New England Patriots have been busy this weekend in preparation for the draft. Mike noted that head coach Bill Belichick was in attendance at the Auburn Pro Day as every NFL team made the trip to watch the SEC draft prospects. The Patriots have had success with Auburn in the past as special teams phenom Brandon King is an alumni that was just tendered for the 2016 season.
Per Pauline, the Patriots met with linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and edge defender Theiren Cockran. The Gophers defense admits taking many aspects of their scheme from Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Campbell is a 6'4, 232 lbs linebacker that runs a 4.58 40 yard dash, and jumps a 34 inch vertical and 9'8 broad. He collected 92 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception, 3 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble. This followed a similarly impressive 2014 season with 75 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 interception, 3 passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries, and a blocked kick.
"I don't get rattled, I don't get nervous, I don't fold under pressure," Campbell said via CBS Minnesota. "So I just took the coaching and tried to apply it to what he was telling me to do."
Campbell seems to be the perfect mid-round linebacker prospect for the Patriots since he can contribute on special teams while he bulks up to the Bill Belichick-preferred 250 lbs.
The 6'5, 250 lbs Cockran is a three-year starter and was named the team's defensive lineman of the year in 2015. He posted an explosive 10'1 broad jump and an incredible 37 inch vertical. He has posted 24 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks in is University of Minnesota career.
Cockran was a combine snub, but he projects to be a late round pick due to his prototypical frame and production.