Patriots Draft Profile: Georgia defensive tackle Trenton Thompson

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jalen Hurts
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jalen Hurts /

The New England Patriots need to address their pass rushing situation, and finding the right fir up the middle will go a long way for them in 2018.

The Patriots lack of a pass rush was highlighted in their Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles last Sunday. They have young talent with Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise on the roster, but they may need some help up the middle. Ricky Jean Francois was solid during his time in New England, but he’s certainly not a long-term solution.

Georgia’s Trenton Thompson could be the answer to the Patriots problems late in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Some thought Thompson would remain in school for his senior season since he had a dip in production in 2017, but he has officially declared for the draft. His best season for the Bulldogs came in 2016 as a sophomore. Thompson played in all 13 games for Georgia, recording 64 total tackles (9.5 for a loss) with 5 sacks. He certainly did not keep pace with that production as a junior with just 38 total tackles. That dip will likely lead to his slide in the upcoming draft, but he’s still a solid prospect that will find his way into the late first or early second round. If he is available for New England with the 31st overall pick, he would be a great choice.

Originally from Albany, GA, Thompson has the size to play in the NFL coming in at 6’4″ 295lbs. For comparison, Patriots legend Vince Wilfork weighed in at 325lbs, while Jean Francois is 313 and Alan Branch is 350. So, while Thompson is on the smaller side of that spectrum, it’s fair to assume he will bulk up for the NFL. He has great size and length, and a bulk to 315 or 320 would be very beneficial for him in the trenches.

New England would be able to develop Thompson while having the luxury of two great pass rushers on the outside. With more pressure up the middle, Flowers and Wise would certainly see an increase in their QB hits and sacks. What has been a weakness for the Patriots on defense, could quickly become a strength in the future. The Patriots will also have the return of Derek Rivers in 2018 after he suffered an ACL injury in the 2017 preseason. He will take some time to adjust to the NFL game after missing his rookie season, but the team would surely be pleased with the amount of young talent on the roster. Whoever the new defensive coordinator is would have quite the pet project to take on, and a success story would propel that coordinator into the limelight.

While Thompson is an intriguing option, there are plenty of other possible defensive tackles that could find their way to New England.

Other DT Options

Both the NFL Draft and free agency have plenty of defenders available in the middle. It will be interesting to see which direction the Patriots choose to head, but these are some of the best available players.

More from Chowder and Champions

NFL Draft (Projected Round)

  • Taven Bryan, Florida (1-2)
  • Maurice Hurst, Michigan (1-3)
  • Tim Settle, Virginia Tech (1-3)
  • R.J. McIntosh, Miami (1-3)
  • Rasheem Green, USC (2-3)
  • Derrick Nnadi, Florida State (2-3)

Free Agents (2017 Team)

  • Dontari Poe (ATL)
  • Bennie Logan (KC)
  • Kyle Williams (BUF)
  • Nick Fairley (NO)
  • Clinton McDonald (TB)
  • Sheldon Richardson (SEA)
  • Star Lotulelei (CAR)

No matter which direction the Patriots choose to head in, you can bet there will be a new big man up front for the defense. They need to create more pressure up the gut, and a young, talented kid from Georgia may be the best choice. The free agents are intriguing, but there’s no telling what the market will be for them. If New England is interested in developing a young front 7, the NFL Draft is the best pick.

Next: Sorry, the Colts rivalry is NOT back on

Chowder and Champions will have more draft profiles coming up. Right now, you can vote here on Twitter for who you’d like the next one to be. The NFL Draft will take place Thursday, April 26th through Saturday, April 28th. Our site will have you covered all offseason as the Patriots aim to reload for 2018.