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 ends/outside linebackers, attempting to identify good fits for the team at that end-of-the-line role in the team's scheme:
Second round: Danielle Hunter (Louisiana State) -- Some physical traits stand out as being ideal for an end-of-the-line role in the team's defense, such as arm length (34 1/4), and he runs well (4.57 in the 40) for a player his size and thus the 6-foot-5 1/8, 252-pound Hunter could initially factor into the special teams mix. In addition to his top-of-the-line physical traits, Hunter is considered a high-motor player. One knock on him from last season is his lack of sack production (1.5).
Middle rounds: Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville) -- The 6-3 5/8, 259-pound Mauldin has overcome a lot in his personal life to put himself in this position, making him one of the feel-good stories of the draft. He is considered a relentless worker and strong player against the run who appears to have some scheme versatility, having played a stand-up role as well as some 4-3 defensive end.
Middle rounds: Anthony Chickillo (Miami) -- The 6-3 1/8, 267-pound Chickillo comes from a football family and posted a 7.17 time in the 3-cone drill, which was one of the better times for pure defensive ends. Chickillo is considered a hard-nosed player who appears to have some scheme flexibility. He isn't viewed as an explosive pass-rusher by media analysts but has played tough against the run.
Middle rounds: Ryan Russell (Purdue) --From a pure physical traits perspective, the 6-foot-4 1/4 and 269 pound Russell has a lot of things going for him -- 33 3/8 arm length, 10 1/4 inch hand size, and he clocked a 4.75 time in the 40-yard dash, which is impressive for a player his size. While Russell was a team captain, he is considered a player who has not yet met his potential. A team selecting him would hope to harness those traits into something greater.
Late rounds: Alani Fua (Brigham Young) -- The 6-foot-4 3/8, 238-pound Fua doesn't have the size to be an edge-setter in the team's scheme, but he could fit as a situational pass rusher and/or coverage linebacker. His 6.83 time in the 3-cone drill stands out, as he's viewed by media analysts as a versatile pass rusher who has been competitive in coverage. He would project to special teams as well.
Late rounds: Zack Wagenmann (Montana) -- A high-motor pass-rusher, his 37.5 vertical leap at the combine rated highly, as he didn't miss a game in his college career while starting in his final three years. He was a team captain in 2014.
Monday: Off-the-line linebacker
Tuesday: Wide receiver
Thursday: Running back
Friday: Defensive tackle
Saturday: Tight end