New England Patriots 2015 NFL Draft and Beyond

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Dec 31, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Charles Perkins (21) is pushed by Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Matthew Wells (22) after the play during the first quarter in the 2014 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

6th Round (177th Overall, Via TB – Jonathan Casillas) – Matthew Wells (LB, Miss State)


Wells is an undersized linebacker who could be a coverage linebacker in the NFL in the role that Jonathan Casillas and Dane Fletcher recently filled in New England. Wells is a physical specimen who tested off the charts on his pro day with a 4.44 40-yard dash and under 7 seconds on the 3-cone drill. Only six-foot-two and 222 pounds the coverage linebacker is smaller than some cornerbacks taken in the draft.


2015 Role:

Wells will have to earn a role on special teams in 2015 as a coverage special teams player. He could eventually earn a role on the dime defense in the Casillas/Fletcher role. New England could move Wells to safety as well as a future strong safety. Wells will be 25 years old at the start of the 2015 season but should get a chance on the dime defense due to his coverage skills and ability to make plays in space.


2016 and Beyond:

Wells will have an uphill battle to earn a roster spot, but the Patriots have made room on the roster for a coverage linebacker the past few seasons and that should help Wells. Expect him to add some bulk and and earn a role in the nickel and dime defenses in a best case scenario


Similar pick in the past:

It is hard to find a comparable pick (Casillas arrived via a trade and Fletcher was an undrafted free agent). Matthew Slater is probably the most comparable as he was a man without a position coming out of college and has now gone to two Pro Bowls as a special teamer as the Patriots coaches have maximized his unique athleticism.