3 top mid-round defensive line options for Patriots in 2022 NFL Draft
1. Patriots could add former LSU Tiger Neal Farrell Jr. to the D-line mix
Former LSU defensive tackle Neal Farrell Jr., listed at 6-4 and 338 pounds, would be a huge Tiger to add to the defensive line to play alongside Barmore. These two former SEC rivals could certainly team up to help wreak havoc on AFC East opponents who are loading up to crush any Patriots’ hopes for another playoff berth in 2022.
Nfldraftbuzz.com described Farrell’s progression thusly:
"2021 was Farrell’s best – by far as he started all 12 regular-season games and chalked up 45 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and more significantly 24 total pressures. As a result, he was invited to the Senior Bowl and also was named to the All-America team by Pro Football Focus."
Some of their listed attributes for Farrell include the following:
"Ideal size for classic nose tackle space-eater at 6-4 and 330 lbs Played with good leverage, even on the nose, despite average bulk. Hustle defender with a good bull rush inside that can close and get home when quarterbacks leave the pocket. Quicker and more agile than you would expect for a player of his size Very strong hands – to keep blockers away from his pads Elite run defender – who swallows backs into his massive bulk"
Farrell’s progression is a good sign that his upside could be high as a professional. Again, the player would most likely be deployed on the nose. Yet, as mentioned, the team wants to deploy Barmore in a gap rather than on the nose, and Farrell’s ability to meet their requirements and stop the run could be a major asset. One downside is that Farrell won’t contribute much as a pass rusher, having only notched six sacks in his five-year college career.
That notwithstanding, adding a massive run-stuffer to play early downs alongside Barmore would be an asset. The Patriots’ defensive line currently is on the small side, and size should and hopefully will be a key determinant when/if the team picks a defensive lineman in the draft.
So those are three possible candidates in the middle rounds should the Patriots decide to use one of their four picks therein on a defensive lineman. Though the possibility that one of the top five at the position slips in the draft is always there, a trade-up to snag a far better talent is also always an option for the New England Patriots. Fans can never ever rule out that potentiality.
Hopefully, the Patriots will recognize their shortcomings and draft another young player to team with Barmore on the interior of the defensive line. Otherwise, expect another languid performance from that unit — excepting the indomitable Barmore, who, if he has some real help, will be an unstoppable force.