New England Patriots 2016 NFL Draft Review, Grades

Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) catches the ball – Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /


At this point of the draft (after the fourth round) the Patriots are focusing on finding special teams contributors Matt Slater and Nate Ebner), overlooked diamonds-in-the-rough (Dan Koppen and Tom Brady), and project players (Julian Edelman). Any team that hits on a player after the top 100 to 125 picks (approximately the fourth round) and has any reason other than dumb luck for finding the player is full of it. For all of them, the grade is INCOMPLETE

Sixth Round: 208th overall

LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, Eastern Illinois

New England Patriots
Eastern Illinois Panthers linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (32) – Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

Kamu Grugier-Hill is a small school tweener, one of the players the Patriots like to pick late in the NFL Draft. They had taken a chance on a small school defensive end/tackle tweener Zach Moore in 2014 and although he flashed potential he never made the step. As a player somewhere in-between safety and linebacker, Grugier-Hill has an uphill battle to make the roster.

Grugier-Hill is likely going to have to make the team as a special teams player, but he flashed the ability to cover tight ends and could carve out a role on the defense in the future. Grugier-Hill is six-foot-two and 210 pounds but has excellent athleticism. He may spend a year or two playing only special teams or on the practice squad, but head coach Bill Belichick loves finding a role for an overachiever.

Sixth Round: 214th overall

LB Elandon Roberts, Houston

New England Patriots
Houston Cougars linebacker Elandon Roberts (44) applies pressure – Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Roberts was a productive linebacker who stood out on game tape for the Cougars as an excellent run defender. Like Grugier-Hill, Roberts will also compete for a roster spot by winning a role on special teams first. He has a role in the defense as a backup linebacker but is undersized for an inside linebacker. At just five-foot-eleven and 234 pounds, Roberts is smaller than the thumper Bill Belichick prefers in this role (Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower).

Roberts did make plays both in the running game and as a blitzer in Houston. With depth needed behind Hightower and Jamie Collins, Roberts will likely spend a year or two playing special teams or on the practice squad before getting a shot on the regular defense. He has a lot of linebackers ahead of him on the roster with free agent signings Shea McClellin and Ramon Humber, Jonathan Freeny and Jonathan Bostic behind Hightower and Collins.

Sixth Round: 221st overall

OG Ted Karras, Illinois

Karras started 43 games at right guard at Illinois and is most notable as the great-nephew of NFL star Alex Karras. Despite the logjam at guard, Karras is a solid potential prospect at six-foot-three and 307 pounds. Karras bounced back from torn ACL as a junior to play his way to being drafted. He is a longshot to make the roster, but could be a developmental prospect after serving time on the practice squad.

Seventh Round: 225th overall

WR Devin Lucien, Arizona State

New England Patriots
Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Devin Lucien (15) – Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Devin Lucien transferred to Arizona State after three years at UCLA and opened eyes with a productive season, particularly closing out his career.  Whether a late bloomer or a tease, he will get a chance to show his stuff in training camp. At six-foot-one and 201 pounds, he has the size to compete on the outside. lauded his reliability catching the ball highlighting he had just five drops over two seasons. He has some experience running pro style routes and was effective in the short passing game as well.His biggest weakness is creating separation.  Although a longshot to make the roster, the Patriots will see if he is worth a practice squad spot this summer.