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NFL 2022 mock draft: Patriots add another Michigan edge rusher in the first round

Related: Patriots vs. Jaguars snap count report: Matthew Judon logs just 10 snaps in return from Covid-19 list

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 CFP Semifinal - Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Michigan Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots sure love their Michigan Wolverines, not only because Tom Brady led them to six Super Bowls. The team also has gone back to Ann Arbor in three straight seasons to add to their front seven.

In 2019, Chase Winovich was drafted in the third round. In 2020, Josh Uche was drafted in the second round. Last year, Cameron McGrone was picked in Round 5.

Could the Patriots make go 4-for-4 this year? According to a new mock draft by The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez that might very well be the case.

David Ojabo
EDGE, Michigan

Every year there is a prospect that catapults himself out of nowhere into a first-round-worthy draft pick. This year it’s David Ojabo. The Patriots love taking versatile linebacker/edge rushers and take Ojabo with this pick. Ojabo has only played football a few years, but Bill Belichick will find him intriguing and believe that he can develop Ojabo’s athletic traits into an impactful football player.

A big-bodied edge defender at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Ojabo has all the tools to become an effective outside linebacker in New England’s hybrid scheme. He would likely serve as a pass-rush specialist early on and needs some work to turn into a true three-down player, but the athletic foundation is intriguing.

With Chase Winovich only used sparingly on defense this season, and with versatile defenders such as Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins all on the wrong side of 30, the Patriots might decide to add to their front seven depth in spring. There are bigger needs at wide receiver and possibly cornerback and offensive tackle, but Ojabo projects as a solid selection in the late first round.