Patriots hosting son of legendary linebacker for pre-draft visit
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots are on the hunt for their next generation of stars in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it could come in the form of a local product on the offensive line. No, not Zion Johnson in the first round. This selection is the son of a former Patriots Pro Bowler with developmental upside on Day 3 of the Draft.
Tyler Vrabel, as if his name didn’t make it obvious enough, is the son of former Patriots linebacker and current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. Unlike his father, Tyler has beefed up to over 300 pounds and made his name as an offensive lineman with tons of raw power to spare.
Even though the Patriots brought back Trent Brown, the loss of Ted Karras and Bill Belichick’s need to constantly restock the cupboards with regard to the offensive line could force him to use some draft capital at the position. The stars might be aligning for Belichick to coach his second generation of Vrabels.
The Patriots brought in Vrabel for a pre-draft visit along with former Brown quarterback E.J. Perry. Despite not being invited to the combine, Vrabel has shown enough during his career with the Eagles to warrant being selected at some point in the later rounds of the draft.
Will the New England Patriots draft Tyler Vrabel?
While fellow Eagle teammate Johnson got most of the pre-draft hype, Vrabel established himself as a dominant run-blocker that can get to the second level and wipe out opposing defenders. His initial punch and raw strength stand out, even when compared to Johnson.
While there were some concerns about his overall athletic ability due to some bad 40-yard dash times, his short shuttle and 3-cone times show that he can hold his own at the professional level. Still just 20 years old on draft day, Vrabel’s best football is in the windshield, not the rear-view mirror.
Pass protection is where Vrabel struggles at this point. He looks wildly uncoordinated and sloppy with regard to his footwork at times. His hand usage could use some work, as could his ability to deal with edge-benders that line up anywhere wider than a 5-tech spot.
Vrabel is worthy of getting picked on his own merit, not just based on the weight of his last name. If the Patriots are able to bring him in and develop him in the same way Michael Onwenu was improved upon, Vrabel could be the second member of his family to become a starter in New England.