Patriots Check Out Defenders At Shrine Game

Although the New England Patriots returned to the playoffs, it was clear to everyone that they need to rebuild a once dominant defense. New England finished tied for 23rd in the league in sacks, and the lack of a pass rush further exposed a young secondary. Find out which collegiate stud the team has been talking with that could add to the Patriots pass rush.

Wisconsin defensive end/outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield is a disruptive type of player that most NFL teams covet. Although Schofield isn’t on the very top of many draft boards, he is a hard worker who can flat-out rush the passer. At the East-West Shrine Game practices this week, Schofield has been a popular man.

"I talked to the Colts, Eagles, Redskins, Patriots, Bears, Panthers and 49ers," Schofield said. "It is exciting just to see those teams and get their feedback and see what they think about you."

Akron quarterback Chris Jacquemain, left, is sacked by Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield (50) during the first half of a college football game Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Measureables: 6’3”, 248 lbs.; 4.63 40-yard dash

Statistics: In 11 games as a senior playing both outside linebacker and defensive end, Schofield recorded 55 tackles, an amazing 20.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two passes broken up, and two forced fumbles. As a junior playing defensive end, he registered 40 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks in 13 games at defensive end.

Scouting report: Schofield is your classic ‘tweener as he is too small to be an every downs defensive end, and is better rushing the passer than he is in coverage. With more teams moving to 3-4 defenses, Schofield should be successful. He has terrorized Big Ten quarterbacks this season, and that should be able to translate to the next level.

Schofield feels his best asset is his versatility, as he excelled on two levels while at Wisconsin.

"I can do whatever they need me to,” the former Badgers standout said. “Linebacker, I can play my hand down. I just want to show them I am versatile, I can drop into coverage, I can play the run, special teams, basically whatever they need me to do.”

Although Schofield is confident, he’s not cocky as he is aware of when he needs to do to improve.

"I need to work on my footwork and the bag drills. I think the linebacker position will come with experience and reps."

At this point, Schofield is projected as a middle round selection.

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Charlie Bernstein is the host of CB Sports on ESPN Radio 1420 in St. Augustine, and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.

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