The 2017 Patriots Draft Class
The 2017 Patriots Draft class is now set. Belichick wheeled and dealed like never before – using picks as currency to got get players like Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen, and Mike Gillislee. As usual, he moved up and down in the draft to get the players he really wanted. In a team without a lot of holes, he doubled up at defensive end and offensive tackle to fill those holes.
Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown State
Derek Rivers (Youngstown State photo)
Round 3, Pick 19 (83) (From Titans)
Rivers is a versatile end, who could also play linebacker. He’s on the smallish side for a defensive end (250 lb). He’s quick, and was a 3rd team FCS All-American for the Youngstown State Penguins. He racked up 37.5 sacks in four years in college – including 14 in his senior year. Not only did he set the record for career sacks for the Penguins, but he did so by 19.
Rivers has drawn comparisons to Jason Taylor, based on his size and athleticism.
Belichick on Rivers: “(He) played competitively in the all-star games and in a good program there with Coach (Bo) Pelini, who we know very well. Bo does a great job with his players and his team. Derek’s been in a good system, has been well-coached. Even though he’s from a smaller school we’ll see what he can do for himself here, as well, when all is said and done.”
“Derek Rivers can get to the quarterback. I thought he was best suited to play 3-4 outside linebacker. What coach Bill Belichick likes is versatility in players. He can stand up off the ball as an inside linebacker and in sub-packages kick down.” — Mike Mayock (via Patriots.com)
Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy
Round 3, Pick 21 (85) (From Lions)
The 6-7, 302 tackle out of Troy didn’t allow a sack in 900 offensives snaps during his senior year. The Trojans as a team only allowed nine sacks in 2016, the fewest sacks in the country. He had a great game against the eventual National Champion Clemson Tigers, with a game score of 90, and six knockdown blocks. The Trojans averaged 33.7 points and 429.6 yards per game in 2016.
He’s presumably the left tackle of the future for the Patriots.
He’ll turn 24 on December 10th.
Garcia was born in Houston, and grew up in Atlanta. He also played basketball in high school, averaging 12 points a game in his senior year at Charles R. Drew High School.
Deatrich Wise, DE, Arkansas
Round 4, Pick 25 (131) (From Seattle)
A former teammate of Trey Flowers for the Razorbacks, Wise is another pass rusher. He’s a little bigger than Rivers (271 lbs), but not as fast – so more of a power rusher than a speed one. Finished his collegiate career with 16.5 sacks. He started the first eight games during his senior year, then suffered a hand injury that limited his playing time for the rest of the season.
“Bill Belichick loves versatility on his defense and Wise brings that to the defensive line. He has some upside as a low end starter and should find his way into the rotation early in his career.” – Mark Dulgerian – NFL.com
His father, Deatrich Wise, Sr. played for the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League, and later played Arena Football.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 29, 2017
And then, the Patriots traded with the Cowboys to move up to take…
Conor McDermott, OT, UCLA
Round 6, Pick 28 (211) (From Cowboys)
The final player in the 2017 Patriots Draft class, Conor McDermott is a monster. He’s 6’8, and 312 pounds. He a big, athletic tackle with a lot of upside. In the Bruins first game of the 2016 season, McDermott really struggled against first overall selection Myles Garrett. The consensus among analysts is that he’s got a lot of work to do improving his strength and technique – but it’s exciting to see what Dante Scarnecchia could do with him as a project player.
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