The New England Patriots are not only the most successful pro football organization of the 21st century, they could also be described as the NFL’s quintessential family operation: from Robert Kraft and his son Jonathan owning the franchise to head coach Bill Belichick employing his sons Steve and Brian as assistants, the Patriots have never shied away from bringing relatives into the club. And the family connections do not stop there.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski played alongside his brothers Dan and Glenn in 2011 and 2016, respectively. Brock Vereen was brought on board a few weeks after his brother Shane had left the team via free agency. Most recently, the Patriots reunited two sets of twins: in 2017, Jacob and Cody Hollister were both signed as undrafted rookies; one year later, Jason McCourty joined his brother Devin in New England’s defensive backfield.
And with draft season fully underway now, don’t be surprised if the Patriots initiate another family reunion this year.
Let’s meet the Wise brothers.
After spending his college career in Arkansas, Deatrich Wise Jr. came to New England as a fourth-round draft selection in 2017. Ranking third on the team behind only Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy when it comes to combined quarterback pressures since his rookie season, the 24-year old developed into a valuable rotational defensive edge as well as an uplifting presence in the Patriots’ locker room.
Daniel Wise, meanwhile, spent his last two years at the University of Kansas. A team captain and productive interior penetrator, the younger of the two Wise brothers was voted first-team All-Big 12 in both 2017 and 2018 — all while registering a total of 12.0 sacks from his defensive tackle spot. And with his position being one of the Patriots’ biggest needs at the moment, it would not be a surprise if New England opted to take a close look at him in the upcoming weeks.
So what exactly does Wise bring to the table? For starters: versatility. Kansas used him primarily as a 3-technique defensive tackle, but he has also shown the ability to perform well when lining up as a nose and in 5- and 7-technique positions along the line — a versatile skill set similar to that of impending Patriots free agent Trey Flowers. Furthermore, Wise has a quick first step, good lateral movement skills and violent hand usage:
Kansas iDL Daniel Wise - first step quickness consistently pops, good pad level, active hands, plays like a dog. Ate up Shrine Week & flashes some of those positive traits here - pic.twitter.com/JvzHlA9D1J— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) February 26, 2019
While he was a standout all week at the East-West Shrine Game, Wise — just like his older brother — is not expected to be drafted in one of the early rounds. After all, he played against Division I opposition, still needs to improve his core strength, and at 6’3, 290 lbs might have to add to his frame to play successfully in a gap-control scheme like the Patriots’ at the next level, particularly when asked to perform against the run.
That being said, Wise would be a solid complement to New England’s current defensive tackle group consisting of Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler. As is the case with Butler, Wise’s strengths lie primarily in the pass rushing game: he can challenge interior lineman with his speed, pad level, and solid hand technique. A replacement for run stuffers Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton — both unrestricted free agents after the team declined to pick up their fifth-year contract options — he is not, however, which means that the club would still have to look elsewhere to fill that role.
Nevertheless, if Wise is available in the third or fourth round, the Patriots might still opt to bring him in and reunite him with his brother for the first time since both played at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas. His potential to play various roles at a high level is intriguing, as is his pass rushing prowess.
All in all, you should not be surprised to see a Wise Guys front in New England next year.