New England Patriots: 5 wishes for the 2022 NFL Draft

Joshua Paschal of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Joshua Paschal of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Darrian Beavers #0 of the Cincinnati Bearcats. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots draft wish list item No. 2: LB Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

One of my favorite New England Patriots players during the Bill Belichick era was Brandon Spikes. The big, physical linebacker from Florida was an intimidating tone-setter for the defense. When I watch Darrian Beavers, he reminds me of Spikes, big time.

Beavers tackles with bad intentions. He wants opposing players to really feel it when he hits them. Every time Beavers collides with a ball carrier, he’s delivering a message of what to expect all afternoon. If Beavers crunches enough victims, he will break a few wills along the way.

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The question about Beavers is whether he fits what the Patriots are looking for at linebacker. There is a lot of talk that the New England Patriots wants to get faster at the position. Most of the fast linebackers in this draft are around 6-0, 230 pounds. Beavers was 6-4, 255 pounds at Cincinnati. To his credit, he lost almost 15 pounds in preparation for the Cincinnati’s pro day. And his test results were excellent, but not elite.

It’s also worth questioning if Beavers would be good enough in pass coverage. He can be good enough dropping into a zone, but can he cover a tight end or running back one-on-one? That’s a tough ask for a player of his size.

If Belichick still wants his linebackers to stack and shed, Beavers can do that. He would be an excellent enforcer on run downs, with some ability in pass coverage. He should be available in the second or third rounds.