Bill Belichick never ceases to amaze anyone. With the last two picks the Patriots have in the 2017 NFL Draft, 216th overall (sixth round) and 239th overall (seventh round), he used them to once again move up to talk an offensive tackle. This time around, it is UCLA's Conor McDermott.
After trading up yesterday from pick 96 to pick 85 to select Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, the Patriots repeat the transaction again today. Projected to pick 216th, the Patriots traded with the Cowboys to move up five slots to 211th and select McDermott. Unless the Patriots acquire any more 2017 draft picks, the team will finish with only four draft picks this year. And with those four draft picks, the team used to select two EDGE rushers (Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise Jr.) and two offensive tackles (Garcia and McDermott).
McDermott is a two-sport athlete who played basketball in high school. He suffered a shoulder injury in his senior season and was forced to go to prep school for one year before enrolling with UCLA. He is a towering offensive lineman at 6'8" and 307 lbs. One of McDermott's biggest deficiencies as a player is his play strength. He has more than enough length at 6'8" and 34 and 3/4" arms but needs to add strength to his frame to handle pass rushers at the NFL level. He was named to the second-team All Pac-12 in both 2015 and 2016.
McDermott has solid footwork for an offensive tackle but he is also learning the position still. He lands in a terrific spot however with Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia being one of the best in the business. On top of that, because of the Patriots depth at the position, McDermott wouldn't be asked to do much unless a slew of injuries do happen. If McDermott can refine his technique and add some strength to his frame along with being under the tutelage of Scarnecchia, there is a chance that he can turn into a solid NFL offensive tackle.
As mentioned before, the Patriots have finished their 2017 NFL Draft with only four draft picks, by far the lowest in franchise history under Belichick (the previous low being six in 2002). It is fair to expect that the team could be looking at a lot of prospect who go undrafted to bring on to the team for training camp (and maybe beyond).
Be sure to keep checking Patriots Insider and myself (@DMooreNFL on Twitter) for updates on who the Patriots go and sign as undrafted free agents.