The NFL Films documentary A Football Life: Bill Belichick includes a scene of the New England Patriots head coach sitting in his car, struggling to set the clock. Since that day in 2009 a lot has happened, with technology becoming increasingly important not just in the automotive industry but in pro football as well. This holds especially true these days, with the Coronavirus limiting teams’ abilities to evaluate prospects during the pre-draft process.
Belichick’s team, therefore, has decided to turn to alternative scouting methods now that personal meetings and workouts are no longer safe and pro days all over the country have been canceled. One of those methods involved calling up draft hopefuls via FaceTime — and the Patriots have been quite busy in this area. According to reports by Music City Miracles’ Justin Melo, they held interviews with the following four draft prospects that way:
OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (6060, 311 lbs): A raw talent that likely needs some development before being able to compete as a starting-caliber offensive tackle at the next level, Cleveland delivered an impressive combine workout: the Boise State product ran the fastest three-cone drill and shuttle among all offensive linemen and was one of just three linemen to finish the 40-yard dash in under five seconds. (via Justin Melo)
OG Damien Lewis, LSU (6020, 327 lbs): Lewis, who also had a meeting with the Patriots at the scouting combine, enters the draft as a developmental prospect along the interior offensive line. He offers good strength and plays the game with a physical edge, but needs to get more consistent in applying his technique and positioning himself well in zone blocking schemes. (via Justin Melo)
DE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State (6035, 264 lbs): Willekes is a big-bodied edge defender capable of setting the edge in the running game and making plays with his high motor and sound technique. The 22-year-old may not have the biggest ceiling due to his comparatively limited athleticism, but his experience in combination with a solid overall skillset project well at the next level. (via Justin Melo)
DT Raequan Williams, Michigan State (6040, 308 lbs): While his starter upside appears to be limited, Williams does offer value as a rotational depth player capable of serving in a two-gap scheme like the one run by the Patriots. That said, he is a raw prospect that needs to improve his technique to make up for a lack of explosive power. (via Justin Melo)