In the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft the New England Patriots selected Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette with the 90th overall pick. Bequette was a 2nd to 3rd round prospect at one point. His durability questions, lack of versatility, and playing for an Arkansas run defense that ranked 51st out of 120 FBS teams really makes me question this pick.
The Patriots also have Jonathan Fanene and Brandon Deadrick ranked higher on their depth chart at left end. Rookie first round pick Chandler Jones is expected to start at right end for the Patriots right away in 2012.
I do believe Bequette could be molded into a rotational left end and used as a pass rusher on 3rd downs. Bequette is a lot better at pass rushing than he is at run stuffing when you watch his tape. The problem is, Bequette played a 4-3 scheme at Arkansas while weighing in at 6 foot 5 and 274 pounds.
Bequette needs some conditioning because Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likes pass rushers that have the versatility to play in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defensive schemes. Bequette is a 4-3 only player. Durability questions also make me question this pick.
Bequette’s combined numbers probably got him selected this high. Bequette ran a 4.82 40-yard dash time and jumped 34 inches when launching into the air for his vertical jump.
One of the strongest qualities about Bequette is his heart-he plays with a tremendous amount of heart. Bequette’s Combine performance and high character played a factor in New England taking him here.
The Patriots could get a poor man’s Mike Vrabel if Bequette shows the work ethic while making major strides to improve, but I think this is another Jermaine Cunningham SEC flop type of pick at defensive end.
I am giving the Patriots a C+ grade here. Bequette’s character and heart boosts this pick from a C grade to a C+ grade. You also have to consider that the Patriots took another Arkansas player in round 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft with Ryan Mallett. Both former Arkansas players Bequette and Mallett will be considered hits if either player is on the Patriots’ roster as a great starter in 3 years. I do not see either player developing into a long term starter because both players just have too much to overcome at the next level.
Mallett has a cannon for an arm. The lack of accuracy plus the character concerns he had off the field at Arkansas made me initially question the idea of drafting Mallett as Tom Brady’s successor.
Bequette could develop into a backup rotational pass rusher on 3rd downs. Overcoming durability concerns, showing the right work ethic, and improving his conditioning in New England will be the keys to whether Bequette becomes a starter down the road.