With the No. 117 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Patriots select:
Old habits die hard. We know the New England Patriots like their outside linebackers big, strong enough to set the edge on run plays. But if the Patriots really are showing signs of being open to changing that, I suggest Louisville’s Yasir Abdullah.
Rumors say New England likes Utah’s Mohamoud Diabate. He’s alright, but Texas’ DeMarvion Overshown would be a better option because Diabate has a lot of room for growth in coverage while Overshown is a converted safety. And Overshown and Diabate are the same size (6-3 229).
Abdullah is just 6-1, but stacks 237 pounds on his frame and his arms are just as long as Overshown’s. Abdullah would have a better chance of success in the box than Diabate and Overshown.
The numbers Abdullah back that up: 9.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss. And he handles himself well in coverage. The proof is in his highlights.
If Abdullah’s height is a turn-off for the Patriots, may I suggest moving him to inside linebacker? He could be the sideline-to-sideline to Ja’Whaun Bentley’s between the tackles. No matter what position Abdullah would play, he’s too good to pass up.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s Mike Morris could be trapped in draft purgatory for being viewed as a tweener: Not athletic enough to play linebacker, but not big enough for defensive tackle.
History suggests the Patriots would think otherwise. Almost six years ago, New England selected Deatrich Wise Jr. He’s been a productive part of the Patriots D-line rotation, Belichick apparently loves Wise, and it doesn’t look like Wise is going anywhere anytime soon.
Morris is like Wise, but quicker. Morris would work as a situational pass rusher from any direction, probably from linebacker as well. He’s also a capable run defender, whether using his strength or quickness.
Adding Morris to a pass rush that includes Wise, Matthew Judon, Josh Uche and potentially Foskey would make up for not selecting a premium corner.