NFL DRAFT

Countdown to the draft: Edge – Will Patriots go looking for Trey Flowers’ replacement?

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(Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

As we count down to the 2019 NFL draft, we’ll take the measure of the Patriots by position at this stage on the calendar, and offer up five prospects at each spot — three if they’re inclined to invest in the early going, and two more if they’re interested in waiting a bit. 

THE SKINNY

This spot is somewhere in the middle of the Patriots' needs list. The Patriots lost Trey Flowers and Adrian Clayborn this offseason, and while they do have youngsters like Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers on the roster (as well as veterans Michael Bennett and John Simon), an additional edge defender for New England’s 4-3 could help provide a boost for the pass rush and give the Patriots another layer of depth. It will be tough to replace someone like Flowers, but it’s important to remember he basically took a redshirt year as a rookie in 2015, sitting behind the likes of Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard and Chandler Jones. Could New England look for a similar young talent to sit for a year or two behind someone like Bennett before following a similar career arc? This draft will provide that answer.

POSSIBLE EARLY TARGETS

Clelin Ferrell, Clemson