Round 3, Pick 95: EDGE Josh Sweat, Florida State
Sweat is a talented player who could fall in the draft due to medical concerns, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The 6-foot-4, 251-pound edge-rusher had multiple knee surgeries during his college career which has made some teams wary of drafting him.
The Patriots haven’t shied away from drafting players with injury history. In 2014, the team selected Dominique Easley in the first round despite him dealing with knee injuries during his college career.
Injuries aside, Sweat was a highly-productive pass rusher at Florida State, posting 14.5 sacks, 29.0 tackles for loss, an interception, and a forced fumble in three years as a Seminole, per Sports Reference.
Additionally, he clocked a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and a 39½-inch vertical jump.
Round 6, Pick 198: EDGE Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
New England has doubled-up on edge-rushers in two of their last three drafts and this year is no different.
Mata’afa, 6-foot-2, 254-pounds, finished his three-year career at Washington State with 21.0 sacks, 45.5 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles, per Sports Reference.
Trey Flowers, New England’s starting defensive end, is scheduled to hit free agency following the 2018 season. Together, Mata’afa and Sweat could help ease the blow if the team isn’t able to re-sign Flowers.