The Patriots completed their 2015 draft selections with four selections in rounds five through seven. With the 166th overall selection, the team selected Navy long-snapper Joe Cardona. At pick 178, the Patriots took Mississippi State linebacker Matthew Wells and at 202nd overall Arkansas tight end AJ Derby joined the defending champs. The Patriots final selection of the draft was 247th overall and the team selected Marshall corner back Darryl Roberts.
Prior to the selection of Cardona the Patriots had only one long snapper, Tyler Ott. Normally, one long snapper is plenty for a football team, but Ott is only in his second year out of Harvard and did not snap for the team last year. Bringing Cardona in will allow for some competition in camp give the Patriots confidence going into the season that they have stability at that position.
Wells will most likely have to earn his spot on special teams and look for reps on defense from there, as is the case for most late round picks. He started every game for Mississippi State the last two seasons and was a dependable outside linebacker. One other note is that the Patriots heavy selection of defensive lineman could spell the end for some of their current depth players such as Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan.
Derby began his college career as a quarterback before transitioning to tight end. His 6’4″, 255 pound body will make for a great red zone target if he makes the team. He is still raw, which is expected when a player moves from one position to another. He has good speed for a player his size and rarely drops a pass his way. His blocking needs work and his progress in that area will determine how much he plays in 2015 if he makes the team.
Roberts is a taller corner at 6’0″ but needs to add some muscle as he only checks in at 187 pounds. He has excellent speed and can play physically at the line of scrimmage. He sometimes gets to physical and was penalized six times in 2014 for it. Patriots fans saw a highly penalized corner last season with Brandon Browner, but Roberts will get less benefit of the doubt. In a relatively thin corner group, Roberts has a good chance to make the team. His coverage skills are good and if he can add more strength he could very well end up getting serious reps in games.