The New England Patriots have been getting defensive with their private workouts and team visits leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft.
One void New England will be looking to fill is adding an additional pass-rusher with one of their early picks in the draft. They recently worked out edge rushers Derek Barnett of Tennessee, Derek Rivers of Youngstown State and Tarell Basham of Ohio, who seemed to enjoy his visit with head coach Bill Belichick.
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“[Belichick] may not be the biggest fan of the media, but hey, he’s a great guy, he’s a cool guy to talk to and a great guy to work with,” Basham said after his pro day workout. “We had a good workout and I enjoyed it.”
The Patriots could also be looking to add a run-stuffing defensive nose tackle during the later rounds, as Metro.us has learned that 6-4, 350-pound Josh Augusta is the next player scheduled to visit Foxboro.
“Josh seemed more excited about his visit to New England and meeting coach Belichick than any other team,” his agent Craig Schaeffer of Elite Sports Agency told Metro Boston. “The Patriots would be a perfect fit for Josh’s skill-set.”
Other defensive players who have either visited or worked out for the Patriots include linebackers Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State and Eric Wilson of Cincinnati.
New England doesn’t hold a selection in this year’s NFL Draft until the third round (pick No.72) but Belichick has been known to wheel and deal come draft time. They also hold the 96th overall pick in the third round, forcing the Patriots to place a bit more emphasis on mid-round picks compared to years past.
Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton certainly fits that criteria, another player the Patriots have met with. A team captain and four-year starter for the Vols, Sutton also returns kicks, all traits that the organization places a premium on. He could fit in array of ways.
“I really don’t see myself at one position,” Sutton said at the combine. “It started at the Senior Bowl, they were able to move me from strong safety, to free safety, I played nickel, played corner, so I was able to show that versatility. Whatever an organization needs from me, I am able to do those things.”
The Patriots haven’t entirely ignored the options available in this year’s draft to help improve the offensive side of the football.
Kutztown offensive lineman Jordan Morgan also visited with the Patriots, according to a league source.
One of the forgotten players in this year’s draft is running back D’Onta Foreman of Texas. The 6-0, 240-pound bruising back, who timed in the mid 4.4-range at his pro day, recently worked out for the Patriots and could serve as the perfect replacement for New England should the team not be able to re-sign LeGarrette Blount.
*Be sure to check back at Metro.us for exclusive Patriots draft coverage!