Patriots Draft: Round Five - Ryan Claridge

<P>Many draft experts predicted the Patriots would choose a linebacker in this year's draft to bolster a defense in need of depth. While there were names on the board when the Patriots turn came in the first, second and third rounds, they traded down, and traded again. Eventually, New England was able to land a linebacker for a price they felt warranted. They settled on Ryan Claridge, of UNLV.</P>

Patriots Finally Take a Linebacker
Patriots Insider Staff

Ryan Claridge School: UNLV
Height: 6-2 Weight: 254 40 yard time: 4.74 Year: 5Sr

Ryan Claridge may not be as well known as his fellow linebacker Adam Seward at UNLV, but he has been able to turn the heads of NFL scouts, including the New England Patriots. The Patriots actually scouted Seward, who was chosen just 21 picks earlier by the Carolina Panthers. In their review of Seward, they saw something they liked in Claridge, who brings an intensity and football awareness the team is looking for.

UNLV runs a 3-4 defensive scheme which will help Claridge adjust to life in the NFL. After missing some time due to a sports hernia injury in 2003, Claridge rebounded well in 2004 earning respect for his contributions on a team that struggled in the Mountain West Conference(MWC) finishing in last place.

College Football News describes Claridge as: "The most athletic linebacker of a very active group, Claridge is the highlight reel players always in the opposing backfields and always making the key play"

Claridge was named First Team All-MWC by Phil Steele's and second team by Athlon ... Ranked the No. 4 linebacker in the MWC by College Football News. He led the MWC with nine sacks last season. He holds both the UNLV and the league record with 10 career forced fumbles.

Claridge recently commented in the Vegas media about his experience leading up to the NFL Draft. Surprisingly, the Patriots seemed less concerned about his measurable assets than his immeasurable ones.

"The funny thing is the Houston Texans will say they need a pro shuttle time. You talk to the New England Patriots, and they don't care about the pro shuttle." Claridge said.

Claridge planned on watching the Draft from home in Michigan. If he was still watching after nearly 15 hours of coverage before his name was picked, then he has proven he has the kind of staying power necessary to make it in the NFL.

More on Claridge can be found here:

Scouting Report: Ryan Claridge

Search All Claridge Stories: Ryan Claridge Info

NFL 2005 Combine: Scout Combine Info

All OLB Rankings by Scout: All OLB Rankings

Official UNLV Bio: UNLV Rebels

Related:

2005 Combine Invitees: Defense :: Insiders: Patriots Schedule Another Visitor :: No Dice for UNLV :: Scout.com UNLV Running Rebels

Patriots Insiders will be bringing you more information on Sanders as it's available. Be sure to check back often as this story will be updated through out the day.

 

 


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