The New England Patriots will reportedly host Cornellius “Tank” Carradine on a pre-draft visit, and Carradine’s projected draft selection is right up the Patriots alley. Carradine possesses around the same talent as more highly touted Florida State Seminoles DE teammate Bjoern Werner, but his draft position is on the opposite end of the first round.
That bodes well for the Patriots, who have the 29th pick in the draft and could use a pass rusher with Carradine’s talent. If he checks out medically to the Patriots liking on the visit and the Pats like his tape enough, I could see them pulling Carradine in the first round. Although that would mean the Patriots would have spent back-to-back first-rounders on defensive ends in addition to bypassing bigger needs at wide receiver and cornerback, teams don’t like to pass up on players who they view as special and who could fit smaller needs.
Chandler Jones has a great shot at breaking out and becoming one of the best DEs in the NFL by his third season, and he has the athletic ability and excellent mix of pass rushing potential and current run-stuffing prowess to do this. However, Jones is the only consistent pass rusher on the Patriots. Rob Ninkovich is one of the best DEs in the NFL against the run, but his pass rushing ability is subpar because his pressure comes in bursts. This leads to high sack numbers, but Ninkovich’s pass rushing ability isn’t all that great. To me, though, the Pats can live with that if they can find a great interior pass rusher. Sylvester Williams has that potential, so we’ll see if the Pats decide to pluck the UNC guy in the first or hope for him to fall into the second.
With things stalled between the Patriots and John Abraham, there is a very real possibility of the Pats taking a defensive end like Tank Carradine in the 2013 NFL Draft. His pre-draft visit with the Pats will dictate the team’s interest, and this is a visit that I will be keeping close watch on.
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