Seeing the New England Patriots invest in one or more prospects from Texas A&M in this year’s draft would not be a surprise. Tight end Jace Sternberger, for example, is one of the top developmental prospects at the position and would certainly help fill the void created by Rob Gronkowski’s retirement. Daylon Mack, meanwhile, is a big-bodied defensive tackle that could serve as an interior run-stuffer in the mold of ex-Patriot Malcom Brown.
And then there’s Kingsley Keke, another defensive linemen and one who New England is apparently expressing some interest in: according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, the Patriots are among five teams that will host the senior defender on a pre-draft visit. Keke would therefore become the ninth player to travel to New England for one of the so-called top-30 meetings each franchise can invite draft prospects to.
Projected as a mid-round selection, the 6’3, 288-pound defender appears to be a high-ceiling prospect with a relatively low floor. “I think Keke has some awesome traits to work with, but he may be at his best as a long/late downs interior rusher due to his lack of leverage and hand usage in the run game,” said The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard about him. “He’s capable of potentially wearing a lot of hats and being a Deatrich Wise-like player, but I would love to see more consistency in his areas of strength.”
The player Ledyard mentioned, Deatrich Wise Jr, is of course a key member of the Patriots’ defensive edge rotation — especially with Trey Flowers no longer on the team. If New England was able to get similar production out of Keke, he certainly would be a sound investment early on day three. That being said, expecting him to take that step and become a productive pass rusher from either the interior or the edge would be a mistake: he is simply too much of a hit-or-miss prospect for such predictions to be made.
All in all, though, Keke appears to be a project that could benefit from the right coaching and environment. New England might therefore be an ideal landing spot for him: he would not have to play a big role right away and could be integrated into the mix more slowly as a sub-pass rusher and special teams player — all while the team kept working to maximize his undeniable but currently rather raw talents.