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NFL Draft

New England Patriots Top 30 Visit: Kansas ED Austin Booker



Kansas defensive lineman Austin Booker runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Every NFL franchise is allowed to invite up to 30 draft prospects to visit their facilities and meet with the members of the organization before the NFL Draft. These selections range from first-round targets to players who might be available as undrafted free agents. As news about the New England Patriots Top 30 visits surface, Patriots Football Now will highlight each of the visitors. Today’s feature is Kansas edge defender Austin Booker.

College Career

Austin Booker ranked as a three-star prospect from Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Ind. His composite ranks (via 247 Sports) placed him as the No. 600 prospect in the country, No. 73 defensive lineman, and No. 9 player from Indiana in the Class of 2021. Helped Center Grove go 14-0 as a senior and win the Indiana Class 6A state championship.

His high school squad was loaded with Division 1 talent. This included Carson Steele (RB, UCLA), Caden Curry (ED, Ohio State), Tayven Jackson (QB, Indiana), Jackson Schott (LB, Indiana), James Schott (DL, Michigan State), and Kalen Carroll (CB, Cincinnati).

Booker committed to Minnesota. He redshirted his freshman year, then appeared in three games the following season for the Golden Gophers. He entered the transfer portal after the 2022 season. Booker chose Kansas as his new home.

Austin Booker blossomed with the Jayhawks. He started all 13 games for Kansas in 2023 at right outside linebacker. Booker finished with 56 tackles (40 solo), 8.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and was named the conference’s Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

Pro Football Focus graded Booker’s 2023 performance an impressive 82.2. PFF credited him with 38 QB pressures and 34 stops.

NFL Draft

Austin Booker is on the young end of this draft class. While some prospects graduated from high school in 2018, Booker was in the Class of 2021. He has less than two seasons of college football experience, playing a total of just 505 snaps.

Booker attended the NFL Scouting Combine. He measured in at 6-foot-4.5, weighed 240 pounds and ran a 4.79 40-yard dash. He showed good power and coordination in positional drills. Booker possesses good length and wingspan. His limited playing time makes him more of a projection as a prospect than most. It appears Booker can add more mass to his frame.

Austin Booker was selected in the third round (No. 94 overall) in the recent seven-round NFL Mock Draft on Patriots Football Now. He projects as a Day 2 selection. A team drafting him earlier than 94 would not be surprising based on his considerable upside.

The NFL team drafting Austin Booker may opt to have him bulk up and play more of a defensive end role. His pass-rushing skills should keep him in the NFL for a while. Whether he can get stronger while maintaining his athleticism will determine if he is a future star in the mold of Chandler Jones or Maxx Crosby, or simply a pass-rush specialist at the next level.