Which defensive linemen stand out from Patriots perspective at 2019 NFL combine

Ryan Hannable
March 02, 2019 - 5:13 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — On Saturday, it was members of the defense addressing the media at the NFL combine, including defensive linemen.

This is certainly a need for the Patriots, both on the interior and also on the edge. It would not be surprising to see the team use multiple picks on these positions, including at the top of the draft.

With that in mind, here are five players to keep an eye on from a Patriots perspective.

DE Zach Allen, Boston College — Allen can play both inside and outside, which is what makes him appealing to a number of NFL teams. A four-year player at BC, he was very impressive his final three years, recording 6.5, four and six sacks respectively. He also recorded 100 tackles his junior year, but his versatility may be his best trait.

He’s expected to be an early-round selection and noted he would love to play for the Patriots, even though he grew up a Giants fan. Despite that, he said how much he respects them and everything they’ve been able to accomplish.

DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson — The Clemson product and Springfield, Mass. native may be one of the safest picks in the entire draft. Returning to school for his senior season paid off as they won the National Championship and he’s expected to be one of the first defensive tackles selected.

In 15 games this year, he recorded 51 tackles and 5.5 tackles. Wilkins has a great personality that certainly will be appealing to any teams meeting with him.

DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State — Jones is a very intriguing prospect. His college teammate, Nick Bosa, called him the best interior pass rusher in the draft and then teams have requested he workout as a linebacker. This past fall with the Buckeyes, he recorded 26 tackles and 8.5 sacks. His versatility definitely will stand out to NFL teams.

His first formal interview was with the Patriots and is expected to go in the first couple of rounds.

DT Gerald Willis, Miami — He’s met with the Patriots in Indy and one of the questions was likely about his past, including why he took a leave of absence from the Miami program in 2017. Willis was also dismissed from the University of Florida his freshman season. “I had a lot of personal issues I had to handle off the field so I could make a comeback,” Willis said to the Miami Herald this year.

On the field, he finished with 59 tackles, 18 for loss. He’s expected to go in the early-to-mid rounds, so perhaps if he slides and the Patriots came away from their meeting feeling good, they could get good value.

DT Daniel Wise, Kansas — Wise is the brother of Patriots defensive end Deatrich, and as we’ve seen in recent years the Patriots are not afraid to have siblings on the team. Wise is mostly an inside player, but can shift outside when need be. As a senior, he recorded 34 tackles and five sacks.

He’s expected to go in the middle-to-late rounds.

Related: Patriots reportedly releasing TE Dwayne Allen

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