The New England Patriots made headlines on Tuesday night, acquiring both Ben Bass and Jerel Worthy in separate trades. The trade of note, Worthy going to the Patriots from the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a late-round pick, has a chance to be a grand slam for the Pats. Bass is probably more of a camp body who will serve as depth as Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones work their way back from injuries.
As for Worthy, he has about as much upside as any young DT in the game. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 304 pounds, and moves pretty well for a guy his size; he ran a 5.08 40-yard dash time despite weighing over 300 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012. He was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Michigan State after an impressive college career.
During his time as a Spartan, Worthy had 107 tackles (27.5 for loss) and 11.5 sacks in three years. Unfortunately for him, his career with the Packers didn’t exactly go according to plan.
After a decent rookie year in which he played 14 regular season games with 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a rotational player, Worthy missed the majority of last season. He suffered an ACL tear in Week 17 of his rookie year and was simply not the same player after returning the next year. He played in just two games his sophomore season before shutting it down.
If Worthy can come back healthy and adapt to the Patriots’ system, he has the potential to become a star. At just 24 years old, he is young enough to still develop into a stud, both as a run-stuffer and a guy who can provide pass rush on the interior defensive line.
One thing is for sure. Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly had better put themselves on notice, because Worthy is hungry and could cut into their snaps if he proves to be healthy. The Pats just received a potential first-round talent for mere peanuts.
It is still early on, but the future could feature Dominique Easley and Worthy on the Patriots’ interior defensive line for years to come.