The New England Patriots will be taking a close look at a trio of Arizona State defenders this week. According to reports by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed, the team is set to hold pre-draft meetings with cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones as well as linebacker Darien Butler.
The meetings are expected to take place in Arizona. This means that they will not qualify as top-30 visits — one of which was already held with Jones last week. Now he and two of his teammates will essentially speak to the Patriots’ representatives on their home turf.
Lucas, 25, spent six seasons at ASU after joining the school alongside his childhood friend, Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry. He never quite lived up to the promise he showed during his 2017 campaign when he was named a freshman All-American and led the team in interceptions and pass breakups, but he was a quality starter throughout his tenure in Tempe.
Playing both on the perimeter and in the slot, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder started 49 games during his college career. All in all, he notched six interceptions, 34 pass breakups, and a pair of each forced fumbles and sacks.
Jones, 24, was a five-star prospect out of high school and initially started his college career at USC. However, academic and legal issues led to him leaving the Trojans and spending a year at Moorpark College (where he did not play football). He transferred to Arizona State in 2019 and has been a contributor ever since.
In total, Jones appeared in 25 games for the Sun Devils over a three-year period. A two-year starter at the outside cornerback position, he registered six interceptions, 26 pass breakups and five forced fumbles.
Butler, 22, became a starter as a true freshman and never looked back. Throughout his four years at ASU — including the final three as a team captain — he started 37 games and was a leader for the team both on and off the field. While undersized by traditional linebacker standards at 5-foot-10, 221 pounds, he had some consistent production throughout his career.
In 2021, he had 68 tackles, 8.5 for loss, as well as a pair of sacks and a team-high three interceptions. However, Butler also missed the final three games of the season due to a concussion.
Lucas, Jones and Butler are all projected as late-round picks in this year’s draft, but all three would help address some of New England’s needs. The first two would bolster the depth at the outside cornerback spot that saw Pro Bowler J.C. Jackson depart in free agency; Butler, meanwhile, would improve the depth at the off-the-ball linebacker position and also help out on special teams.