According to CSNNE’s Phil Perry, the Patriots are well represented at the University of Michigan’s Pro Day in Ann Arbor,MI on Friday:
Both Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia are in attendance for Michigan's pro day today, per @APGroover.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) March 24, 2017
All 32 NFL teams are in attendance as Jabrill Peppers and Taco Charlton headline a large crop of Wolverines looking to become next-level players. The team sent a record-tying 14 players to February’s NFL scouting combine.
Trades for Brandin Cooks and Kony Ealy have left the Patriots without a pick in the first two rounds. Currently, their first selection won’t come until pick number 72. However there are quite few players that, at pick 72 and beyond, could pique the team’s interest.
Chris Wormley - DT
6’ 5’’ - 298 lbs - 23 years old.
Wormley is an impressive blend of size and athleticism that could remind some New England fans of Ty Warren. The three-year starter and two-time All-Big Ten selection played every position on the defensive line for coordinator Don Brown.
It’s quite possible he’ll be gone by round three. However, if he somehow slips to the Patriots, his ability to provide an interior pass rush could allow Trey Flowers to work more exclusively on the edge.
Ben Gedeon - LB
6’ 2’’ - 244 lbs - 22 years old
Gedeon racked up 106 tackles, 15.5 of which were for loss, en route to a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2016, his senior season. The leader at the center of one of the nation’s top defenses, he is often praised for his instincts and intelligence on the field.
Gedeon is considered an average athlete by NFL standards. However, he did run the fastest 20-yard shuttle and third fastest 60-yard shuttle of the linebackers at the Combine. He also posted 27 bench reps, the most of any linebacker since 2012.
Projected to go between rounds five and six, Gedeon could provide depth at a position that remains thin for the Patriots, even with the return of defensive leader Dont’a Hightower.
De’Veon Smith - RB
5’ 11’’ - 223 lbs - 22 years old
Smith, a punishing ball carrier who consistently gains extra yards after contact, totaled ten touchdowns as a senior in 2016. The knock on him is his speed. He lacks burst through the line of scrimmage, and can’t separate at the second level, making him a projected sixth or seventh round selection.
However, Smith is a willing and able run blocker in pass protection, and can surprise you with his soft hands and smooth footwork in the passing game. Perhaps his most attractive trait, and the main reason Smith could interest Belichick and the Patriots, is that he rarely fumbles. According to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Smith’s fumble rate of 266.5 (offensive touches per fumble) puts him in the “elite” category of the 2017 running back draft class behind only Kareem Hunt from Toledo, and Miami’s Joseph Yearby.
In the Belichick era, the Patriots have only drafted four players from the University of Michigan, including one you just might recognize...
Jeremy Gallon - WR - 2014
Taken in the seventh round, Gallon was the Patriots’ final selection of the 2014 draft. He spent a portion of training camp that season on the PUP list before being cut. He was given a futures contract by the Raiders following the 2015 season, but was released in May of 2016. Since then he has shuffled between various indoor leagues and the CFL.
Zoltan Mesko - P - 2010
The left-footed Romanian of Hungarian decent was drafted in round five of the 2010 draft and started every game for the Patriots from 2010-2012. In 2013 he was released in favor of undrafted rookie and current punter Ryan Allen, saving the team around $600,000 in cap space.
Shawn Crable - LB - 2008
After taking Jerod Mayo with the tenth overall pick in the 2008 draft, the Patriots’ double-dipped at linebacker and took Crable in the third round, hoping the duo would grow into a dynamic tandem between the hashes. However, injuries plagued his career from the onset. He was released in the Spring of 2010 before ever seeing the field. Later that season he was signed to the practice squad and eventually was activated for six games before eventually being released again. After a brief stint on the Jets’ practice squad later in 2010, and a cup of coffee with the CFL in 2012, Crable retired.
Tom Brady - QB - 2000
If you don’t know the story by now...
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