In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:
Player: Michael Brockers
School: Louisiana State
Position: Defensive tackle
Listed height/weight: 6-foot-5, 322 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 2nd
Draft projection: First round
Why he’s on our list: Based on physical make-up and skill set, Brockers fits the Patriots as well as any other lineman in the draft. While unlikely to be available at No. 27, he could be someone the Patriots consider moving up to select should be slip within range. Brockers was spotted at Patriot Place/Gillette Stadium last week, presumably for a pre-draft visit, which could be viewed as an indication that the Patriots still have a level of interest as the scouting process nears its end. Brockers has been described as a potential Richard Seymour type of player. The Patriots haven’t decisively replaced Seymour since trading him in 2009.
Recommended link: Jim Kleinpeter of the New Orleans Times Picuyane, in a piece posted on the Atlanta Journal Constitution website, writes a detailed piece on everything from Brockers disrupting opponents to having a weak spot for cookies (link here).
Key stat: After redshirting in 2009, Brockers played two seasons at LSU and enters the draft after his sophomore season. Because of this, he is viewed as a raw prospect.
Workout stat: Following a disappointing showing at the combine, Brockers improved at his Pro Day in late March, reportedly running a 5.15 in the 40-yard dash.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: "There’s a great deal to like about Brockers’ scheme versatility. At 6-5 and 322 pounds, he’s big and strong enough to line up at defensive tackle in a four-man front or nose tackle in a base three-man front and he’s even agile enough to play defensive end in the 3-4. He has the long arms (35 inches), upper-body strength and instincts to excel in a two-gap scheme in addition to the quickness and active hands to shine in a one-gap scheme. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his weaknesses. He needs to do a better job of keeping his pads down and he can improve his ability to anchor by developing his lower body strength. Another concern is his lack of ideal experience. While he played at the highest level of collegiate football, he is a redshirt sophomore and one-year starter. The bottom line is that Brockers projects as a Day One starter and his versatility is going to make him an attractive option for several teams. So I think it’s unlikely he slips to pick 27 though Todd [McShay] and Mel [Kiper] both have him going to Denver at 25 so it’s not unthinkable. Should New England draft him they would be getting a player that fits their versatile scheme and has the potential to be an excellent complement to Vince Wilfork."