Patriots Add Two Players On Second Day Of Draft
After trading away their first round pick to New Orleans for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, the New England Patriots weren't slated to make a selection in the 2017 draft until the third round, at pick number 72.
The Pats made a slight move during the second round on Friday night to move back 11 more spots to pick number 83, where they made their first selection of the night.
With the 83rd overall pick, the Patriots selected Youngstown State defensive end Derek Rivers.
Playing in the FCS, Rivers' abilities were questioned a bit early on in the draft process. Though the level of competition was not always up to the FBS' standards, Rivers quieted many critics with a tremendous combine workout, which pushed him back up the ranks of the top defensive ends available.
Coming in a bit undersized, Rivers has the ability to be used in multiple capacities within the Patriot defense, which is always a high selling point for Bill Belichick and company.
A three-time All-Missouri Valley selection and a three-year starter, Rivers has dominated the FCS over his time at Youngstown. In 2016 he finished second in the FCS with 13 total sacks.
Just two picks later, the Pats added their second player of the night, selecting Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia with the 85th overall pick.
Though he is considered somewhat raw, Garcia is projected to be able to play at left tackle as he develops in the system.
As ESPN's Mike Reiss notes, that could mean that the selection of Garcia came with the hope/expectation that he could slot in in place of veteran Nate Solder next year, if the career-Patriot leaves in free agency after the season. With Solder playing at a pretty high level and top left tackles having a track record of being paid in free agency, the Pats might be inclined to let Solder leave after the season with Garcia set to take over.
Both scouts and and Garcia, himself, have described the big-bodied tackle's playing style as "physical and nasty."