Patriots beyond the first round: Defensive tackle

A majority of the media coverage entering the NFL draft focuses on the first round, so the "beyond the first round" series is meant to fill out the picture for the New England Patriots, who enter the draft with nine selections, beginning with the final pick of the first round (No. 32).

The "beyond the first round" series continues with defensive tackle, attempting to identify good fits for the team:

Second round: Michael Bennett (Ohio State) -- The 6-foot-2, 293-pound Bennett started 28 games over the last two seasons and was known for, among other things, his initial explosion and strong use of hands as an interior rusher. From a scouting perspective, his arm length (33 5/8 inches) is viewed as a positive. Bennett is more of a 3-technique projection (playing with an outside shade on the guard), which might not be a top need after selecting Dominique Easley, but he still figures to grade highly.

Middle rounds: Marcus Hardison (Arizona State) -- The 6-foot-3 1/8, 307-pound Hardison could have scheme flexibility, as his 33 1/2-inch arm length projects to a possible defensive end role in an odd front, while he also could potentially fit as a 3-technique. He had 10 sacks and 15 tackles for a loss last season, which reflects some of his ability to be a disruptive presence. His strong performance at the Senior Bowl was notable.

Middle rounds: David Parry (Stanford) -- The 6-foot-1 1/4, 308-pound Parry put up 34 repetitions on the bench press, which highlights his strength. He could be a fit for the Patriots' scheme from the perspective of playing a two-gap technique at times, and he is an underdog type who initially joined Stanford as a walk-on. Parry might be more of a two-down nose tackle type, although some scouts might question if he will consistently hold up at his size.

Middle rounds: Leterrius Walton (Central Michigan) -- One of the bigger interior defensive tackles in this year's class, Walton checks in at 6-foot-4 7/8 and 319 pounds. So he has some NFL-type physical traits from a scouting perspective, and on the field, he started every game the last two seasons. He might have some scheme flexibility with big hands (10 1/4) to potentially control blockers. He is a smaller-school prospect whose work against higher-level competition will be looked at closely.

Late rounds: Tyeler Davison (Fresno State) -- With 32 repetitions on the bench press and 53 games played (40 starts), the 6-foot-1 5/8, 316-pound Davison is one of the stronger more experienced prospects in this year's class. As a wrestler in high school, he knows a thing or two about leverage. He has the look of a prototype nose tackle.

Late rounds: Darius Kilgo (Maryland) -- The 6-foot-2 7/8, 317-pound Kilgo comes from a program where the Patriots have tapped defensive linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis in recent years. He started 36 games over the last three seasons, put up 33 repetitions on the bench press and has some physical traits from a size perspective that could make him worthy of a late-round investment.

Beyond-the-first-round series

Monday: Off-the-line linebacker

Tuesday: Wide receiver

Wednesday: Cornerback

Thursday: Running back