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Patriots Football Daily: Combine Workouts Begin for DL, LB



UCLA defensive lineman Laiatu Latu (15) runs during an NCAA football game against Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Los Angeles. Latu is the premier edge defender in the 2024 NFL Draft the New England Patriots will be scouting. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis has several facets. Decision-makers mingling from around the league is one of them, laying the groundwork for potential trades and signings. Meeting and interviewing draft prospects is important. And it is known as the “lying season” because this is where many rumors start to get floated. But most NFL fans who follow the NFL Scouting Combine want to see how these athletes perform. Today that begins, when the defensive linemen and linebackers take the field.

The New England Patriots will be scouting all positions here, although they are unlikely to land any of the top prospects due to their team needs on offense. Additional bulk (Lawrence Guy Sr. was recently released), pass-rushing help (Josh Uche is a free agent), and depth (Anfernee Jennings and Mack Wilson Sr. are UFAs as well) could be found in the NFL Draft.

There will be plenty of updated coverage from the combine on Patriots Football Now. But for now, here are a dozen prospects from today’s group to keep an eye on. They are broken down into three categories.


These are the best of the best. Four prospects who will improve any defense they join. Nobody in the NFL Draft is a sure thing (the three closest players are all on offense this year) but these guys should be difference-makers in the pros: Laitu Latu (UCLA), Jer’Zhan Newton (Illinois), Jared Verse (Florida State), and Dallas Turner (Alabama). Keep an eye on Byron Murphy II (Texas) potentially joining this group.


These prospects are currently projected to go at least one round lower than their play dictates. They have all impressed and would be steals if they are drafted at their consensus rankings. All have a chance to improve their draft stock at the combine. However, there is something to be said for guys who are just “football players” as opposed to workout warriors. That is the difficulty of the scouting process. But pre-workouts, here are four sleepers: Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M), Marshawn Kneeland (Western Michigan), T’Vondre Sweat (Texas), and Javon Solomon (Troy). Linebackers in general are underrated in this class, such as Payton Wilson (NC State) and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson) but both could be gone around Round 2. Next up sleeper: Mohamed Kamara (Colorado State).

Five Star Prospects

There is something about blue-chip prospects that always gives hope that they will blossom into their full potential. There are many former five-star prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine. Some, like QB Caleb Williams (USC) will be off the board very early. Others will have to wait much longer. Here are a few blue-chip prospects who could turn heads with an outstanding effort at the combine: Eyabi Okie-Anoma (Charlotte), Xavier Thomas (Clemson), Leonard Taylor II (Miami), and Maason Smith (LSU). Honorable Mention: Curtis Jacobs (Penn State).

Also in today’s edition of Patriots Football Daily…

New England Patriots

Patriots Football Now – Patriots fail to make the honor roll on NFLPA Team Report Cards

Patriots Football Now – Nick Caley was offered Patriots offensive coordinator job

Roster Breakdown

Patriots Football Now – Bailey Zappe Fights for a job

Patriots Football Now – Jabrill Peppers, future team captain?

NFL Draft

Patriots Football Now – NFL Draft history of the No. 3 overall pick

Patriots Football Now – NFL Scouting Combine Spotlight: Holy Cross OL C.J. Hanson

NFL News – Breaking down what coaches, GMs had to say in Indy

Pro Football Network – Record-breaking contract for Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa?

Yardbarker – Why the trade market may not be robust for Bears QB Justin Fields

ESPN – Jets okay Zach Wilson to seek trade

Boston Bruins

Go over to our sibling site Boston Hockey Now to check out the great Boston Bruins coverage from Jimmy Murphy and the BHN team. The NHL season is underway and plenty is happening in the Bruins 100 Anniversary season.


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Football Fun Fact of the Day

The fastest 40 times in NFL Scouting Combine history for each of the positions performing today:

4.36 – DE Amare Barno, 2022 (Virginia Tech) and Odafe Oweh, 2021 (Penn State)

4.38 – LB Shaquem Griffin, 2018 (UCF)

4.67 – DT Calijah Kancey, 2023 (Pittsburgh)

Giffin was a defensive back in the NFL, but he performed with the linebackers at the combine.

Post of the Day

Post of the Day comes from Christian Barmore the winner of the 2023 Andre Tippett Award, getting New England Patriots fans hyped…

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports,, and many other outlets.