Worthington could be sleeper for Pats

Each week leading up to April’s NFL Draft, New England native Steve Muench of ESPN’s Scouts Inc. will identify prospects he feels could be a good fit for the Patriots. Today, he focuses on a sleeper choice, Ohio State defensive lineman Doug Worthington:

“This is a player we have an early fourth-round grade on and he looks like a prototypical 3-4 defensive end, which would be a good fit for the Patriots. We saw him at the East/West Shrine game and he didn’t really pop out but then I went back and watched him on film against USC and Illinois. He looked better and it was almost like the all-star game wasn’t suited for him because he's so physical .

“He’s not a player who has a great burst off the edge, like a 4-3 defensive end/edge rusher, the Dwight Freeneys of the world. But he’s very strong at the point of attack and he has the size and long arms to be a 3-4 defensive end. You look on film and he does a good job controlling blockers. He’s a 288-pound two-gap player who can lock guys out and locate the ball, stack and shed basically.

“He’s not necessarily going to be a playmaker. He’s a bull-rusher who will occasionally collapse the pocket but one thing he also brings you is versatility to line up inside, which he did at Ohio State. So let’s say you draft a Brandon Graham in the first round, and a Worthington in the fourth or fifth round, if you walk Graham up from outside linebacker and turn it into a 4-3 front, Worthington could slide inside and play defensive tackle. I don’t think he’s the type of player who will turn heads at the combine, but he’s someone I’d keep an eye on based on what he did on film.”