After a year off due to Covid-19, the NFL Scouting Combine is back in Indianapolis this week with 324 draft prospects testing all week in front of scouts from the league’s 32 organizations. This is a good opportunity for clubs such as the New England Patriots to get an idea of how these prospects look up in person prior to their pro days taking place over the next few weeks.
With the Patriots set to hold six picks in this year’s draft, they should be heavily involved over the next few weeks as they get their board together to try and find their next rookie class.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the players you should have your eye on this week.
LB Devin Lloyd, Utah
Lloyd is our top linebacker in the class due to his ability to do everything on the football field. From his elite speed, ability to cover sideline to sideline as well as play multiple spots, he’d be a slam dunk pick for the Patriots at No. 21.
Lloyd has experience at both safety and wide receiver from his high school days and it pops up all over his tape. His elite closing speed makes him a force in the run game while he also possesses the ability to come off the edge in sub-rushing packages.
Lloyd has a lot of Micah Parsons to his game. As the Patriots look for athletic, younger and quicker linebackers, he would quickly become a difference-maker in their front seven.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: LB Devin Lloyd (UTAH) 6’3 235lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 28, 2022
Arguably the top LB in the class due to his elite size/speed combo and range. Athletic freak that can play in space and run with anyone on the field. Slam dunk at # 21 for the Pats. pic.twitter.com/bdS5aXfZrG
WR Jahan Dotson, Penn State
The Patriots continue to look for playmakers at the wide receiver position, and Dotson brings elite speed, precise route running, and playmaking ability to the table. The Penn State product is expected to run in the 4.3s this week which could certainly boost his draft stock, but his ability to be fluid in and out of his breaks while displaying strong hands will have scouts watching him closely.
Given Mac Jones’ ability to deliver the football on time and in stride, a guy like Dotson should be an intriguing option for the Patriots early on in the draft. He’s a consistent playmaker from both the slot and the Z position and could certainly bring more juice to the New England wide receiver room.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: WR Jahan Dotson (Penn State) 5’11 190lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 1, 2022
Fluid route-runner that was a consistent winner at the LOS due to his elite quickness and footwork. Competitive player that is strong after the catch and explosive as a ball carrier. pic.twitter.com/l71nRY8RRL
OT Daniel Faalele, Minnesota
If the Patriots are looking to add another Trent Brown to their offensive tackle group, Faalele might just be their guy. At 6-foot-8, 387 pounds, Faalele is a mauler who moves well for a person of that size. He showed in college that he is immovable around the corner and very effective in the short areas, making it hard for opposing players to set the edge on him.
After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl earlier this month, it will be interesting to see how Faalele tests this week. The Patriots enter the 2022 offseason with a lot of uncertainty at both tackle spots for the future: Brown is a free agency, while Isaiah Wynn is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Minnesota right tackle Daniel Faalele is going to be an interesting case study next season. At 6’9” and 400 pounds, we’ve never seen a player this size. He has easy power, as you would expect. He also moves very well for a player that size. Not sure how to feel about his weight. pic.twitter.com/HZ8TTO5vqb— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) March 9, 2020
CB Kyler Gordon, Washington
Even if J.C. Jackson returns in free agency, there is no question that the Patriots should be in the market to upgrade their cornerback group. Washington’s Kyler Gordon is an interesting prospect and someone the Patriots could have their eyes set on come draft night, and during the Combine.
The 6-foot-0, 200 pound defender has the ability to succeed in both man and zone coverage shells while displaying fluid hips and the ability to run with any player on the field. A superb athlete that should certainly run in the low 4.3s, his elite closing speed and ability to play on the outside could give the Patriots a future CB1 early on in the draft.
2022 #Patriots Draft Target Thread— Keagan Stiefel (@KeaganStiefel) January 27, 2022
CB Kyler Gordon
(6’0” - 200lbs)
A two time member of @BruceFeldmanCFB’s Freaks List, Kyler Gordon is the NFL Combine’s next superstar. pic.twitter.com/OOUC1B1pb9
LB Christian Harris, Alabama
There are a few “prototypical Patriots” in every draft, and Christian Harris out of Alabama is near the top of the list in 2022. With New England desperate for quicker and younger linebackers that can play fast and cover, Harris would be a slam dunk pick for at any point in April.
Harris is arguably the best coverage linebacker in the class with his elite closing speed and high football IQ. He fits the mold and size requirement of what the Patriots are typically looking for in their linebackers at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds. Harris furthermore is a playmaking machine that will be able to produce from Day 1 on as a rookie due to his ability to play sideline-to-sideline while also possessing ferocious pass-rushing abilities.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: LB Christian Harris (Alabama) 6’2” 235 lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 8, 2022
Versatile LB that is constantly around the ball. One of the smartest in the class that is a future leader of any defense. Premier size/speed for the position that is excellent in coverage. pic.twitter.com/zIMNXtCdg3
LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati
There are not a lot of guys that can move as well as the 6-foot-4, 252-pound Darrian Beavers can. A Senior Bowl standout, Beavers has the ability to play right in the heart of any defense he joins in April. A freak athlete for his size, he mainly played off-ball in college but has shown flashes of his ability to play the Mike spot and get after the quarterback on third downs.
A Day 2 prospect that certainly checks the boxes of all the traits Bill Belichick looks for in his linebackers, Beavers could very well be on the Patriots’ radar this week.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: LB Darrian Beavers (Cincinnati) 6’4 252 lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 3, 2022
Beavers checks off all the boxes the Patriots typically look for in their LB’s. Thumper that has stood out in coverage down in Mobile this week. Keep your on him over the next few months. pic.twitter.com/ofBxjJlBLv
CB Derion Kendrick, Georgia
No matter if the Patriots retain J.C. Jackson or not, the depth behind him, especially on the outside, is shallow. Derion Kendrick would bring a good mix of athleticism and experience to that position.
Kendrick, who was a former wide receiver and started his career at Clemson before finishing up at Georgia this past season, improved mightily as his college carer went on. He flashes his wide receiver skills when mirroring opponents and has the length and physicality the Patriots typically look for in their outside corners.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: CB Derion Kendrick (Georgia) 5’11” 202lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 10, 2022
Athletic, versatile corner with great ball skills that converted from WR at Clemson in 2018. Kendrick has elite cover skills that plays with high-energy and physicality.pic.twitter.com/baYWrQCJvQ
WR Chris Olave, Ohio State
Olave is a technician when it comes to his route-running — he’s very smooth in and out of his breaks and may be the most pro-ready receiver in the draft. He is crisp route runner that made college football look easy over his four-year career at Ohio State.
Olave is a versatile receiver that can excel at all three spots on the field but would likely see time at the Z or X at pro level. With him projected to go late in the first round, the Patriots should have close eyes on him this week in Indianapolis. Adding a dynamic young playmaker for your young quarterback is imperative this offseason, and Olave provides just that.
OT Max Mitchell, Louisiana-Lafayette
Mitchell is 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, and on tape moves extremely well for a man his size. Now, the question is whether his Combine performance confirms this.
Regardless of the numbers he will put up this week, the Louisiana-Lafayette product is a flexible tackle that excels both in pass protection and in the run game. Mitchell has been a starter since his sophomore season and was one of the Senior Bowl’s biggest risers last month.
With Trent Brown a free agent and Isaiah Wynn entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, the Patriots might be in the market to add tackle help through the draft. If they indeed look to reset the clock at the position, Mitchell might be an option.
One of my favorite under-the-radar OT prospects this year is #Louisiana RT Max Mitchell.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 22, 2021
He’s athletic, aggressive and does a great job with his hand exchange. He has NFL starting potential - keep him on the radar. pic.twitter.com/Lb6wprS5R5
WR Kyle Phillips, UCLA
Phillips is a Day 3 wide receiver that could be quite the fit in New England. The UCLA product is a quick, shifty and efficient route runner that excels at all three levels of the field.
He has the release game and hands to be an effective slot at the pro level. Phillips has some Danny Amendola to his game due to his inability to find soft areas of the field and be able to shake defenders due to his footwork. His testing numbers at the Combine will therefore be interesting to watch — especially in the 3-cone and short shuttle drills.
#Patriots Draft Target Thread: WR Kyle Phillips (UCLA) 5’11 190lbs— Ryan Spagnoli (@Ryan_Spags) February 15, 2022
Elite route runner with strong hands and a feel to make plays out of the slot. Explosive and quick in and out of his breaks. Easy separator in the short and intermediate game.pic.twitter.com/DHL7VCzYKA