The New England Patriots have made a pair of draft picks and I think they perfectly align with the team needs. Youngstown State EDGE Derek Rivers is an exciting pass rusher with plenty of athleticism and should slide nicely into the Patriots edge defender rotation, while Troy OT Antonio Garcia is a high-upside prospect that provides solid insurance with three offensive tackles entering the final year of their respective contracts.
I think the Patriots did a great job adding good prospects at positions of need. Here’s what other people had to say about the Patriots draft.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter
The Patriots' first pick was the 83rd overall selection. They chose Derek Rivers from Youngstown State, an exciting pass rusher with stand-up/hand-down versatility. Troy's Antonio Garcia is a project guy who should help once Nate Solder moves on.
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar
Of course the Patriots can sit back and let the draft come to them and ace their first pick. Rivers is a stellar pass rusher who plays with a high motor and can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. New England needed a pass rusher and Rivers could push for a lot of snaps early in his career.
Garcia a couple picks later was a smart choice as well. He’s an athletic and experienced left tackle who could push to start at some point soon for New England.
Despite the Patriots trading for Kony Ealy, they needed to add another edge rusher. Derek Rivers was highly productive, albeit at a 1-AA school in Youngstown State. Still, he proved that he belongs when he tested extremely well at the combine, and he fits what the Patriots typically look for in a prospect. I think this is a good match, and Rivers provides value, as he could've been chosen in the second round.
We know of a team that was going to consider selecting Antonio Garcia in the second round, but something happened and offensive tackle was suddenly not a need anymore. With that in mind, I like the value the Patriots are once again getting here in the middle of the third frame. Garcia could replace Nate Solder in 2018, as Solder is entering his contract year.
Pats Pulpit Readers
EDGE Derek Rivers: 3.49/4.00; B+/A-
Troy OT Antonio Garcia: 3.56/4.00; B+/A-
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