Like Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise Jr. is looking to make more of an impact in his second season with the New England Patriots.
The New England Patriots are having quite a bit of luck with defensive ends out of the University of Arkansas.
First, the team saw a tremendous leap taken by 2015 fourth-round pick Trey Flowers in his second and third seasons in the NFL. Now, the team is hoping their 2017 fourth-round pick, Deatrich Wise Jr., takes a similar path in becoming one of the team’s top pass rushers.
Unlike Flowers, Wise was able to contribute in his rookie season. He had 5.0 sacks and played valuable snaps throughout the season, playoffs and Super Bowl. Combined with Flowers, these two Arkansas alums could become quite a duo with the Patriots. Of course, that depends on the continued development of Wise.
Recently, ESPN’s Mike Reiss named Deatrich Wise Jr. as one of the players whose development is most critical for the team’s success in 2018.
Yes, the team has Trey Flowers and has recently added Adrian Clayborn via free agency, but Wise has both the unique size and talent to be a disruptive force coming off the edge. In playing 51.3 percent of the defensive snaps in his rookie season, there is no reason why he can’t and won’t make more strides this upcoming season.
Like any young player, both injuries and confidence will play a factor, but a starting role is right there for the taking. If this 6-foot-5, 271-pound defensive end finds his way, the Patriots will finally have the type of consistent pass rush they have been missing since the days when Richard Seymour roamed along the defensive line.
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Not comparing him to Seymour or even Chandler Jones, but his ceiling is high and if he is allowed to develop in the same fashion as Flowers, he will succeed on a defense hungry for sack specialists.
Around the AFC East
New York Jets: After losing tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in free agency, the New York Jets have found a replacement.
According to ESPN on Monday, the Jets have claimed former Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford off waivers.
The former Miami Hurricanes star had a down year with the Raiders. He finished the season with just nine receptions for 80 yards, but his career stats prior to 2017 did see him rack up 61 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdowns.
While not as consistent as Serferian-Jenkins, Walford could see a similar role with the Jets.
The team will likely address the tight end position in the draft.