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Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft, position by position

A computer rendering of the 2018 NFL Draft stage at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
A computer rendering of the 2018 NFL Draft stage at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.NFL via AP

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Here are scouting reports for notable players who have entered the 2018 NFL Draft, organized by position. Underclassmen are denoted throughout by an asterisk.\


Sam Darnold* Southern Cal.6-32204.851
A deceptively athletic guy with a big arm, he finished his career with perhaps his two best games (Pac-12 title tilt and Rose Bowl victories). Turnovers (37 in 26 games) were a problem for this laidback dude.

Josh Allen* Wyoming6-52334.751
A big, strapping lad with an arm to match. Stands tall in the pocket and will step up and deliver strikes to every level of the defense. Struggled some against better competition and has had some injuries.

Baker MayfieldOklahoma6-12154.841
This feisty little bugger (comparatively speaking) may be the most NFL-ready of the bunch. Has a ton of experience and isn't easily rattled. Hums accurate darts from the pocket or on the run.

Josh Rosen* UCLA6-42264.921
A very durable player; started all 30 games of his Bruins career. He may look like a surfer dude but he's a very smart player who processes information and hits targets quickly. Threw for more than 400 yards five times last season.

Lamar Jackson* Louisville6-32004.551-2
Ultra-athletic dual threat. Threw for 3,660 yards and 27 TDs and rushed for 1,601 yards and 18 TDs in 2017. Will need some apprenticeship time (two seasons?) to sharpen his accuracy and decision-making.

Mason Rudolph Oklahoma St.6-52354.901-2
Looks the part of a prototypical NFL pocket passer with excellent size, a quick release, and a powerful arm. Probably the first QB plucked in a lot of other years. He'll force some throws but isn't overly careless with the ball.

Mike White W. Kentucky6-42255.093-4
A poised player with nice touch and accuracy on short and intermediate throws, though that falls off some on deep balls. White has a nice presence in the pocket and won't make a ton of plays outside it.

Kyle Lauletta Richmond6-32154.813-4
Smart and savvy signal-caller whose stock soared after a strong Senior Bowl week, capped by game MVP honors. Ultra-quick release and tight spirals draw comparisons to Jimmy Garoppolo. That's a good thing.

Luke Falk Washington St.6-42255.004-5

A cool, calm, and collected customer. Has loads of experience after running Mike Leach's Air Raid attack for three seasons. A TB12 devotee, he threw for 14,486 yards and 119 touchdowns. Like his idol, he's not a threat as a runner.

Riley Ferguson Memphis6-42104.985-6

A very confident player, he threw for nearly 8,000 yards and 70 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He's nimble in the pocket and buys time with his feet, but his accuracy suffers when he throws on the move.

Sam Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes last season for 4,143 yards, 26 TDs, and 13 INT.
Sam Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes last season for 4,143 yards, 26 TDs, and 13 INT.Harry How/Getty Images/File 2017

Best of the rest: Kurt Benkert, Virginia (6-4, 215, 4.95); *Tanner Lee, Nebraska (6-4, 220, 4.98); Logan Woodside, Toledo (6-1, 213, 4.79); *Chase Litton, Marshall (6-5, 230, 4.95); Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State (6-3, 225, 4.89); Alex McGough, Florida International (6-2, 218, 4.80); J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (6-1, 220, 4.70); *Kyle Allen, Houston (6-3, 209, 4.70); Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech (6-3, 220, 4.90); Matt Linehan, Idaho (6-3, 230, 5.10).


Possible draft option for the Patriots: Luke Falk, Washington State (third round). This 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pounder has a quick release, impressive accuracy, and a ton of experience. Falk pulled the trigger in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense for 3½ seasons and completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 14,481 yards, 119 TDs, and 39 interceptions. He doesn’t have elite arm strength but he has good recognition skills and isn’t careless with the ball.

Make your reads: Kyle Lauletta is this year’s Jimmy Garoppolo, the draftniks say, pointing to the signal-callers’ commonalities. | Will a rookie join the Patriots’ QB fold?

Running backs

Saquon Barkley*Penn State6-02334.401

As close to a "Can't Miss Kid'' as there is in this draft. Combines superb size and athleticism with excellent versatility. Barkley can run, catch, and return. He will occasionally miss an obvious opening.

Derrius Guice* LSU5-112244.491-2

A very instinctive and athletic runner with good burst and the power to break multiple tackles. Guice is no speed demon but he'll hit some home runs. He's a decent receiver and a more than capable blocker.

Sony MichelGeorgia



An explosive runner who flashes initial quickness and sustained speed and power. Michel gets to the hole in a hurry and is a scoring threat from anywhere on the field. Must prove he can pick up the blitz at this level.

Nick ChubbGeorgia5-112274.522-3

An exceptionally sturdy stud who refuses to go down on first contact and a guy who'll punish defenders, particularly those foolish enough to try arm tackling him. Lack of receiving experience limits value a bit.

Kerryon Johnson*Auburn5-11213N/A2-3

Yet another SEC monster, Johnson is particularly agile for his size. He runs with excellent patience, allowing creases to open before bursting through them and bouncing into the secondary. Indefatigable.

Rashaad Penny San Diego State5-112204.462-3

An exceptional return man, he finally got his chance to start at RB as a senior and terrorized the Mountain West. Has very light feet and slipperiness, especially for his size. Possesses the power to pulverize defensive backs.

Ronald Jones*Southern Cal5-11205N/A2-3

Has a nice first step to the hole and exceptional acceleration once he gets past the first level. Strings together moves efficiently and will spin off tackles. Doesn't offer a ton in the passing game.

Royce FreemanOregon5-112294.542-3

A thick and muscular back who can power through tiny creases, Freeman also has deceptive acceleration and speed. A good receiver, he can also work in space. Four-year starter has a lot of miles on the engine (5,621 rushing yards).

Josh Adams*Notre Dame6-1213N/A3-4

Has excellent size and power and can really lean on a defense. A rhythm runner, he gets stronger with more carries. Benefitted from running behind a stout offensive line. Didn't run at Combine because of a balky foot.

Jaylen SamuelsN.C. State5-112234.543-4

Is he a tailback, a fullback, or a tight end? The only certain thing is he's a player. He's exceptionally smart and versatile. He pushes the pile, catches the ball cleanly, and blocks his tail off. Somebody will find a spot for him.

Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,393 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
Saquon Barkley rushed for 1,393 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.Ross D. Franklin/AP/File 2017

Best of the rest: Mark Walton*, Miami (5-10, 220, 4.60); Nyheim Hines*, NC State (5-9, 198, 4.38); Bo Scarbrough, Alabama (6-0, 228, 4.52); Kalen Ballage, Arizona St. (6-1, 228, 4.41); Akrum Wadley, Iowa (5-10, 194, 4.54); Jordan Chunn, Troy (5-11, 234, N/A); Ito Smith, Southern Miss (5-9, 195, N/A); Chase Edmonds, Fordham (5-9, 205, 4.55); Phillip Lindsay, Colorado (5-8, 190, N/A); Dimitri Flowers, Oklahoma (6-2, 245, 4.83).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Mark Walton, Miami (third round). This 5-foot-9-inch 195-pounder has the quickness and speed you’d expect from a back his size. As a bonus, he flashes unexpected power and will collect the tough yards in tight spaces. He runs low and with great balance and is a very good receiver. Not saying he’s a Dion Lewis clone, but he has similar skills.


Make your reads: Scouting running back Nick Chubb, who seized his chance at Georgia, then shared in the glory. | The Patriots have a hole to fill in their backfield.

Tight ends

Hayden HurstS. Carolina6-42504.671-2
Hurst is a polished player with a versatile game. The former minor league pitcher is a well-rounded athlete, but his two-year baseball detour does mean he'll enter the NFL at age 25.

Mike GesickiPenn State6-52474.541-2
Matchup tight end who can win easily against linebackers and safeties. He doesn't block much but has great hands and loves a jump ball.

Mark Andrews*Oklahoma6-52564.672
First-team All American who was Baker Mayfield's favorite target. He's a former receiver and, despite his great size, that's where he excels.

Dallas GoedertS. Dakota State6-5258n/a2
Pass-catcher with great hands, body control, and plenty of highlight-reel grabs, but he'll have to convince teams he can do it against better competition than he saw in college.

Ian ThomasIndiana6-42594.742-3
Best blocker of the top-tier bunch, but he's very raw as a route-runner and dealt with injuries as a senior.
Hayden Hurst caught 44 passes for 559 yards and 2 touchdowns last season.
Hayden Hurst caught 44 passes for 559 yards and 2 touchdowns last season.Sean Rayford/AP/File 2017

Best of the rest: Dalton Schultz*, Stanford (6-6, 242, 4.75, 3-4); Durham Smythe, Notre Dame (6-5, 257, 4.81, 4-5); Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan (6-4, 240, 4.8, 5); Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin (6-6, 248, n/a, 5-6); Chris Herndon, Miami (6-4, 245, n/a, 5-6), Will Dissly, Washington (6-4, 267, 4.87, 6).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Durham Smythe, Notre Dame (sixth round): The 6-foot-5-inch, 255-pound Smythe could get overlooked because he didn’t put up great numbers in South Bend (part of the reason was injury-related). He’s a tenacious blocker and has the athleticism and receiving skills to be a productive player in the NFL.


Calvin Ridley*Alabama6-01894.431

Consensus top pick of the receivers with great speed and ability to separate. Only major knock is that his thin frame can get pushed around.

Courtland SuttonSMU6-32184.541-2

Big-bodied receiver who's had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Mustangs. Lacks elite speed but has the size and contested catch-making ability to be a good red zone target.

D.J. Moore*Maryland6-02104.422

Big Ten Receiver of the Year who set a school record with 80 receptions in 2017. His short-area quickness is better than his pure speed and he could move to the slot in the NFL.

Christian KirkTexas A&M5-102014.462

Also a first-team All American punt returner, Kirk is quick in and out of breaks and savvy in traffic. He doesn't have the length teams covet, but is a good option for a team looking for a sturdy slot receiver.

D.J. CharkLSU6-31994.342-3

Chark has a desirable size-and-speed combination and comes from a program that has produced plenty of wide receiver talent, but scouting reports say he didn't show a ton of growth in college.

St. Brown*
Notre Dame6-52144.482-3

Brown has only three 100-yard games in his career, but he's fast for his size and can play outside or in the slot.

Calvin Ridley caught 63 passes for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.
Calvin Ridley caught 63 passes for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Best of the rest: Auden Tate*, FSU (6-5, 228, 4.68, 3); Anthony Miller, Memphis (5-11, 201, 4.52, 3); Simmie Cobbs Jr., Indiana (6-3, 220, 4.64, 4); James Washington, Oklahoma State (5-11, 210, 4.54, 4); Dante Pettis, Washington (6-0, 186, 4.55, 4).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Cedrick Wilson, Boise State (sixth round): A competitive and hard-working player that converted to the position after playing quarterback in high school. Wilson has good size (6-2, 197) and bloodlines (his father, Cedrick, was an NFL receiver for seven years). He’s still a little raw but runs good routes and should be able to contribute on special teams as a returner or in coverage.


Make your reads: Who are the bigger difference-makers: wide receivers or tight ends? | A ton of guys are battling for one or two spots in the Patriots’ receiving corps.

Offensive line

Quenton Nelson*GNotre Dame6-5329n/a1

A unanimous All-American in 2017, Nelson is an elite prospect with aggression and power in spades and the fundamental soundness to make an impact right away.

Mike McGlincheyTNotre Dame6-8312n/a1

Senior captain for the Irish and first cousin of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, McGlinchey may need to add mass to his frame but moves well, is technically sound, and can play and the left or right.

Will HernandezGUTEP6-23485.151-2

A four-year starter at left guard, Hernandez has a base like a California redwood and would help any team's rushing game right off the bat, though his 32-inch arms are shorter than teams prefer.

Kolton Miller*TUCLA6-93104.951-2

Miller has drawn Nate Solder comparisons because of his height and athleticism. He protected Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen's blind side for all 13 games last season and was second-team All-Pac-12, but his tape is up and down.

Connor Williams*T/GTexas6-63205.051-3

Williams sat out all but five games last season with a knee injury, but was a first-team All-American in 2016 as a left tackle. He could move inside in the NFL but is effective enough in space to compensate for a lack of length, as long as his body holds up.

Orlando Brown*TOklahoma6-83605.852-3

Huge mauler who was an Outland Trophy finalist and Associated Press first-team All-American in 2017, but his lack of athleticism will hurt him.

Tyrell Crosby*T/GOregon6-53255.232-3

Played both tackle spots in college, but could move inside in the NFL. Will be coveted by teams that place a high value on physical traits.

A team captain in his final season, Quenton Nelson started 36 games over his last three seasons at Notre Dame.
A team captain in his final season, Quenton Nelson started 36 games over his last three seasons at Notre Dame.Tony Avelar/AP

Best of the rest: G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia (6-3, 313, n/a, 2-3); C James Daniels*, Iowa (6-3, 295, n/a, 2-3); T/G Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State (6-5, 305, n/a, 3); T Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan (6-6, 330, 5.31, 3); T Will Richardson*, North Carolina State (6-6, 304, 5.26, 3); C Billy Price, Ohio State (6-4, 312, n/a, 3); T Jamarco Jones, Ohio State (6-5, 310, 5.5, 3-4); T Brian O’Neill*, Pittsburgh (6-7, 305, 4.82, 3-4).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan (second round). Okorafor is a massive human (6 feet 6 inches, 330 pounds) with deceptively light feet and a surly disposition. He hasn’t played against top competition, but he has long arms, strong mitts, and quickness. He can stick with speedy edge rushers and drive them by the pocket.

Make your reads: The offensive linemen crisis in the NFL Draft. | There is a gaping hole on the Patriots’ offensive line.

Defensive backs

Minkah Fitzpatrick* Alabama6-02044.471
Intelligent and versatile, he was a dominating force and linchpin of the Crimson Tide defense. Collected 60 tackles, 1 INT, and 8 pass breakups in 2017. He'll be a force in the NFL for the next decade.

Ronnie Harrison* Alabama6-2207N/A1
Co-star of Nick Saban's national championship defense. An athletic thumper with excellent length. Not as polished in coverage as Fitzpatrick (though not bad) but a bigger hitter.

Derwin James* Florida State6-12154.481
Excellent size and athleticism for the position. Can play either safety spot but excels as an extra defender in the box because of his size. Can cover big guys, but smaller guys can give him the slip.

Justin Reid* Stanford6-02074.441-2
Another versatile dude who can play all over the secondary but does his best work close to the line and supporting the run. Not a liability in coverage, and he will lower the boom across the middle.

DeShon Elliott* Texas6-02104.582

Just might be the biggest hitter of the bunch. Has excellent size and speed. Completely comfortable in coverage (6 INTs in 2017), and his exceptional speed allows him to make plays from sideline to sideline.

Denzel Ward* Ohio State5-101834.321
Tremendously fluid athlete with excellent mirror skills. Tracks balls well and will swoop in at last nanosecond to break up passes. Moves on quickly and doesn't let mistakes fester.

Josh Jackson* Iowa6-01964.491
Tall defender with long arms, he locks on and drapes receivers all the way downfield. Has a nice aggressive nature but lacks experience (one year as a starter) and will need to bulk up.

Jaire Alexander* Louisville5-101964.431
Very similar to Denzel Ward in terms of size and skill set. A very confident player (some might say cocky), and that'll serve him well at this level. Could have an immediate impact as a punt returner.

Isaiah Oliver* Colorado6-02014.512
Smooth backpedaler who can seamlessly turn, go, and hang with receivers throughout their routes. Knee injury cost him five games in 2017. Like Alexander, a threat as a returner.

Mike Hughes* Central Florida5-101894.532
Exceptional athlete with good quickness and suddenness. Has excellent recognition skills and doesn't get burned often. One of the top kick returners in the draft. Started at North Carolina but was suspended after a fraternity-house ruckus.

Minkah Fitzpatrick recorded 60 tackles, including 8.0 for loss and a sack and a half, in his final season with the Crimson Tide.
Minkah Fitzpatrick recorded 60 tackles, including 8.0 for loss and a sack and a half, in his final season with the Crimson Tide.Butch Dill/AP

Best of the rest: Safeties: *Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech (6-0, 217, 4.48); Marcus Allen (6-0, 215, N/A); *Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh (5-10, 198, N/A); Kyzir White, West Virginia (6-0, 218, N/A); Gordon Igwebuike, Northwestern (5-11, 213, 4.45). Cornerbacks: *Donte Jackson, LSU (5-10, 178, 4.32); *Carlton Davis, Auburn (6-0, 206, 4.53); Duke Dawson, Florida (5-11, 197, 4.48); Anthony Averett, Alabama (5-11, 183, 4.40); Isaac Yiadom, Boston College (6-0, 190, 4.53).


Possible draft option for the Patriots: Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh (third round). A solid athlete, he has the versatility the Patriots covet, having played both cornerback and safety. He has decent size (5 feet 10 inches, 195 pounds) and range, and a reputation as a hard hitter, so he can provide support in coverage and close to the box.

Make your reads: Need a safety school? Alabama has you covered. | The secondary remains a primary strength of the Patriots.


Roquan Smith* Georgia6-12364.511
Rangy heat-seeker can get skinny and slip through crevices and land big hits. Smith moves well laterally and takes efficient angles to the ball. Shows a nice closing burst when blitzing.

*Tremaine Edmunds Virginia Tech6-52534.541
Played mainly inside for the Hokies but with his size and athleticism he could play anywhere at the next level. Has great read and react skills and often lands the first blow. Has the speed to length to drop in coverage.

*Leighton Vander Esch Boise State6-42564.651-2
Instinctive, smart, and versatile enough to play multiple positions in a 3-4 or 4-3. Vander Esch has the upperbody strength to stack and shed and the foot speed to cover from sideline to sideline

Rashaan Evans Alabama6-3232N/A2-3
Like most Crimson Tiders, Evans is smart and instinctive. He diagnoses plays in a flash and will explode to the ball. He's effective covering runners out of the backfield. Occasionally will overpursue and miss tackles.

Malik Jefferson* Texas6-32364.522-3
Heavy hitter who will thump between the tackles all day long yet still has the athleticism and light feet to make plays away from the line. Has the skills to play all three downs and could emerge as exceptional blitzer.

Lorenzo Carter Georgia6-62504.502-3
Carter has superb quickness and power allowing him to be disruptive in the passing game or set the edge against the run. He'll jolt and reroute tight ends. Might need to pack on some poundage.

Arden Key* LSU6-6238N/A2-3
Fast and powerful pass rusher, Key is another guy who will easily adapt and fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. He's a Jekyll and Hyde type, however. When motivated Key is a terror. When he's distracted, he's a distraction.

Okoronkwo Ogbonnia Oklahoma6-12424.773-4
Can also some sleeplessness for offensive coordinators. Ogbonnia has a lightning first step and is exceptional at rag dolling blockers and finding the ball. Collected 17.5 tackles for losses last season.

Kemoko Turay Rutgers6-52524.653-4
Possesses a nonstop motor and a ton of experience – 44 games. Turay is explosive off the snap, can be very slippery and will get his arms up and be disruptive in the passing game. Sometimes will get swallowed up by bigger linemen.

Roquan Smith led Georgia in tackles (85), sacks (6.5), and tackles for loss (14.0) last season.
Roquan Smith led Georgia in tackles (85), sacks (6.5), and tackles for loss (14.0) last season.Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP/File 2017

Best of the rest: ILBs: *Christian Sam, Arizona State (6-2, 237, 4.75); Fred Warner, BYU (6-3, 227, 4.64); Micah Kiser, Virginia (6-2, 240, 4.66); Josey Jewell, Iowa (6-1, 235, 4.82); Tegray Scales, Indiana (6-0, 230, 4.77); OLBs: Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida (6-1, 227, 4.38); *Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State (6-1, 254, 4.76); Skai Moore, South Carolina (6-2, 221, 4.73); *Jerome Baker, Ohio State (6-1, 229, 4.53); *Josh Sweat, Florida State (6-4, 251, 4.53).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Chris Worley, Ohio State (sixth round). An instinctive and intelligent read-and-react player, the 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pounder is a big, thumping run stuffer who has decent foot speed and coverage skills. Worley would be an immediate help on special teams as he worked himself into the defensive rotation.


Make your reads: Leighton Vander Esch did everything but drive the bus at Boise State last season. | The best addition to the Patriot linebacking corps is a healthy Dont’a Hightower.

Defensive line

Bradley ChubbDENC State6-42694.651

Bronko Nagurski Award winner racked up 26 tackles for losses last season and is widely regarded as the best defensive player available in the draft.

Harold LandryEDGEBoston College6-32524.641

Injuries meant his senior season wasn't as spectacular as his first-team All-ACC junior year, but he has exceptional quickness and versatility.

Vita Vea*DTWashington6-43405.11

Former high school running back is an exceptional athlete for his size; bench-pressed 225 pounds 41 times at the combine.

Marcus DavenportDEUTSA6-62644.581

Has the long, tall frame teams look for, and is fast and explosive.

Maurice HurstDTMichigan6-22824.971-2

His 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons show that he can be a playmaker from an interior position. On the small side, but his quickness is valuable, as interior pressure on quarterbacks is essential in today's game.

Da'Ron Payne*DTAlabama6-23114.951-2

Had only three sacks in as many seasons at Alabama, but he's a run-stuffer with good size and comes from a defensive powerhouse.

Bradley Chubb led the Wolfpack in sacks (10), tackles for loss (26), and forced fumbles (3) last season.
Bradley Chubb led the Wolfpack in sacks (10), tackles for loss (26), and forced fumbles (3) last season.Grant Halverson/Getty Images/Getty Images

Best of the rest: DT Taven Bryan, Florida (6-4, 291, 4.98, 1-2); DE Sam Hubbard*, Ohio State (6-5, 265, n/a, 1-2); DE Rasheem Green*, USC (6-5, 275, 4.73, 2); DE Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama (6-4, 297, 4.83, 2-3); DT Tim Settle*, Virginia Tech (6-3, 335, 5.37, 2-3); DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (6-4, 307, 5.21, 3); EDGE Arden Key*, LSU (6-6, 238, n/a, 4-6).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama (fourth round). Hand has good size (6 feet 4 inches, 285 pounds) and the frame to get even bigger. Though he played end in college, he could play both inside and outside at the next level. He has violent hands and will get off blocks quickly. Hand is a superb run defender but struggled with consistency.

Make your reads: A closer look at Michigan's Maurice Hurst Jr. | The Patriots addressed their needs on the defensive line this offseason.


Michael Dickson*PTexas6-32053-6
The 2017 Ray Guy Award winner learned to punt in a matter of months. Former Australian rules football player with a big leg.

Eddy Pineiro*KFlorida6-01855-6
One of two specialists to declare early this year, Pineiro made 17 of 18 kicks in 2017, including all five of 50-plus yards.

JK ScottPAlabama6-51955-FA
Pro-style punter who averaged 43 yards per punt as a senior and put 27 inside opponents' 20-yard-line. Has kickoff experience as well.

Daniel CarlsonKAuburn6-52156-FA
Three-time Lou Groza Award finalist, but his 23 of 31 on field goal attempts in 2017 didn't match up to his 28 of 32 from 2016 or 23 of 27 from 2015.

Johnny TownsendPFlorida6-12106-FA
Had career average of 46.2 yards per punt. Earned second-team All-SEC honors as a senior, placing 27 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line.

Michael Dickson pinned half (42) of his punts inside the 20 and averaged 47.43 yards per boot last season.
Michael Dickson pinned half (42) of his punts inside the 20 and averaged 47.43 yards per boot last season.Sue Ogrocki/AP/File 2017

Best of the rest: P Will Gleeson, Mississippi (6-3, 190, 6-FA); P Shane Tripucka, Texas A&M (6-3, 220, 6-FA); P Trevor Daniel, Tennessee (6-1, 248, 6-FA); LS Tanner Carew, Oregon (6-1, 243, 6-FA); K Michael Badgley, Miami (5-10, 176, 7-FA).

Possible draft option for the Patriots: P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State (sixth round). Hall is ridiculously quick and active for a 6-foot-1-inch, 310-pounder. He fills a need as a depth tackle but what really sets him apart is his play on special teams. Hall shoots gaps and makes plays in the backfield. He had 86½ tackles for losses, including 42 sacks, and blocked an astounding 14 kicks in his college career.

Make your reads: Scouting Michael Dickson, the Texas punter who entered the draft early. | The Patriots’ special teams are among the best — and they’ve gotten better.