Odrick could boost defensive line

Each week leading up to April’s NFL Draft, New England native Steve Muench of ESPN’s Scouts Inc., will identify a player he thinks could be a good fit for the Patriots. This week, it is Penn State defensive lineman Jared Odrick:

“Internally at Scouts Inc. we had long discussions about him and where he fits best at the Senior Bowl. We will revisit it again, asking the question, ‘Is he a better fit in a four-man line as a defensive tackle or in the three-man line as a defensive end?’ The bottom line is that he can do both and that's great but I do think he is a better fit for a base three-man front.

“After we had our discussions at the Senior Bowl, I went back and looked at the film. Based on what I saw, and what he measured in at the combine, I see him as a better fit at defensive end in the three-man front. The biggest factor for me is his frame. He’s 6-foot-5 so he doesn’t have a very low center of gravity and he can have a difficult time getting under interior offensive linemen's pads. He just plays a little too high at times and he's not quite as stout as I would prefer for a defensive tackle. On the flip side, you love how tough, quick and active he is regardless of where he lines up, so he can hold his own on the inside.

As far as him lining up at end in a three-man line, his height and his long arms (34 inches) become more of a positive. You can envision him locking his guy out and locating the ball before he sheds the blocker to make the play in a two-gap scheme. He didn’t put up eye-opening numbers on the bench press at the combine, but when you have longer arms, you’re not always going to have as many 225-pound reps as other guys because you have more distance to go. He has very functional upper-body strength and very explosive hands. In the weight room and on the field, you can see that.

"So to me, he has the tools to make early contributions for the Patriots at defensive end and his ability to kick inside should make him more attractive considreing how much they value versatility.

“We throw it out all the time ‘a base three-man front’ or a ‘base four-man front’, but when you watch the Patriots they mix it up. With that in mind, Odrick’s flexibility could be a nice fit for them. We've given him a late first-round grade. He does have one minor off-field incident, when he was involved in a fight, but I don’t think that will hurt him too much in the long run.”