3. Patriots can select Phidarian Mathis of Alabama
The best defensive linemen in the draft will obviously be long gone before New England selects. Pro Football Focus ranks Devonte Wyatt of Georgia, Jordan Davis of Alabama, Travis Jones of UConn, Logan Hall of Houston, and Perrion Winfrey of Oklahoma as their top 5. It’s after that list that the Patriots could strike paydirt. Next on PFF’s list is Phidarian Mathis of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
While teammate Jordan Davis has received much of the hype (and his fall into the Patriots’ lap would be nice), defensive linemate Mathis has also emerged as a prospect worthy of lots of attention. Should the Patriots be looking to add sack potential and obvious disruption to the interior of the defensive line (and why wouldn’t they?), Mathis may be their man.
The Alabama star logged nine sacks in 2021 to go along with five in 2020, a total of 14 over the past two seasons. That’s production, and the Patriots got little in sacks from the interior in 2021. Mathis may be just the fix they need to make life miserable for the Josh Allens and Tua Tagovailoas of the AFC East.
Mathis is 6-4 and 310 pounds and is described this way by NFL.com:
"Scheme-versatile wide body with long arms and solid technique at the point of attack. Mathis is a Nick Saban-style run-plugger with powerful hands and a dense anchor. He comes into the league ready for two-gapping duties. He’s more effective against downhill rush attacks than move-blocking schemes, but he’s more a piece of the front than a standout playmaker. He can push the pocket on early down passing plays but is likely to come off the field on passing downs. Mathis should compete for early playing time as a 4-3/3-4 nose or as a five-technique."
The Patriots like versatility in their linemen and Mathis has that trait. Profootballnetwork.com cites his “great energy and power” and that he’s a tireless worker. That sounds all good in this space. Let’s count Mathis as an option who may be available in the third round (or late second) if the Patriots feel he can add to the defensive front.
And, of course, he was a teammate of Christian Barmore on the Crimson Tide and that’s not a bad thing either.