Patriots get: No 159.
Vikings get: Nos. 162 and 239 (seventh round)
And New England takes Maryland DE Byron Cowart at 159.
Bio: The top-rated high school prospect as a 280-pound defensive end, Cowart fell short of expectations, recording 15 combined tackles (including 1.5 for loss) in three seasons with the Tigers. He needed a fresh start, transferring to Maryland with a new mindset - and position - to emerge as a legitimate NFL prospect at defensive tackle.
While not the elite prospect hyperbole would suggest, Cowart’s prototypical frame, strength and resiliency should result in a mid-round pick with a chance to be a real find as a late bloomer.
Analysis: Physically imposing frame with broad shoulders, long arms (34 inches) with excellent weight distribution. Upper-body strength shows up in ability to ragdoll would-be blockers and drag down ballcarriers while still occupied with blockers. Good push/pull move to wrench himself free and flashes good lateral agility and closing burst when the ballcarrier is near. Earned the respect of teammates and the Maryland coaching staff for his dedication towards improving his own game and selfless play.
As imposing and powerful as Cowart appears to be, his overall athleticism is average among NFL-caliber defensive linemen. He has average initial quickness and agility for rushing the passer. His bulked-up frame has left him stiff in his core, limiting his ability to "get skinny" through gaps and elude pass-blockers, even on the interior. Despite good effort, he lacks sustained speed with limited ability to make plays outside of the tackle box. Negates his own strength by allowing his pads to get too high. Lacks ideal instincts, getting caught up in one-on-one battles with blockers at the line of scrimmage and losing track of the ball.