Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/17/14
The Patriots traded up to the 21st pick in last year’s NFL draft to get their pass rusher of the future. And Chandler Jones didn’t disappoint in his rookie campaign. Fighting through injuries for much of the season, Jones established himself as a force to be reckoned with off the edge for much of the season. He managed 45 tackles, six sacks and three forced fumbles in just 14 games and was absolutely dominant when healthy. The Patriots are always looking for defensive line help and could use another talented defender to improve their middling pass rush. Texas’ defensive end Alex Okafor could be just the player to help fill that void. Okafor enjoyed the most productive season of his four-year career with the Longhorns in 2012, piling up 12.5 sacks, good for ninth best in the nation, and constantly bringing pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He’s not the quickest pass rusher in this draft and does have limitations in the run game, but overall he’s a very solid defender who fits best in the 4-3 style defense that the Patriots run. Editor’s Note: NESN.com will evaluate and analyze one potential Patriots draft prospect every day from March 26 up until the start of the NFL Draft on April 25. Okafor is the fourth installment in that series. Combine Measures: Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 264 pounds 40-Time: 4.91 (at Texas Pro Day) Bench Press: 21 reps Key Stats: Okafor didn’t become a consistent player until his sophomore season, but really began to shine as a junior. He racked up 178 tackles, 22 sacks and eight forced fumbles during his four-year career in Austin, most of which came during his junior and senior seasons. The highlight to Okafor’s career came in his final game, too, piling up career highs with six tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in Texas’ 31-27 Alamo Bowl to cap off a terrific senior season. Potential Impact: The Patriots drafted Chandler Jones in the first round last year and were impressed with how quickly he was able to make an impact. Okafor has the potential to make similar strides upon his entry to the NFL, but may need more time than Jones did to flourish. He has the ability to be a double-digit sack guy eventually, but will need good coaching and the right system, which the Patriots do play, to shine. Likelihood he’s around at No. 29: Very high. Okafor is a talented pass rusher and excelled during his senior season with a career-high 12.5 sacks, earning him first-team All-Big 12 honors. His lack of speed and inability to adapt to 3-4 systems should see him fall to at least the end of the first round. He’s got a lot of potential and was very productive at Texas, but the Patriots may even have an outside chance at him with their second-round pick (No. 59.) Game Tape breakdown: Strengths: Okafor uses his size and length quite well to establish position when rushing the passer. Takes good angles to get to the passer and is able to get low to cut down running backs at the line. Plays with lots of energy and never gives up on the play. Weaknesses: Lack of speed will force Okafor to remain on the line in 4-3 sets, not allowing him to be versatile in different systems.  Can get stuck on face-up blocks and sometimes struggles to shed blockers on runs. Scout Okafor for yourself below. Sunday: Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor Other potential prospects: Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State; Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee; Justin Pugh, Guard, Syracuse; Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brad Stevens: LeBron 'looks like the MVP to me'

Le'Veon Bell tees off on Mel Kiper Jr. over Twitter

Report has McCoy headed to Bills, Rosenhaus says no deal

Murray would reportedly give Cowboys hometown discount

Report: Giants ‘considering a run’ at Ndamukong Suh

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Darnell Dockett reportedly visiting 49ers on Tuesday

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: ‘That’s bulls–t'

Hamels trade talk motivating Red Sox pitching staff

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Yankees fire employee over Curt Schilling's daughter tweets

Ravens settle grievance, pay Ray Rice $1.6 million

Lupul, Phaneuf, Cuthbert threaten lawsuit against TSN

Report: Adrian Peterson has trade list of five preferred teams

Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s homosexual 'lifestyle'

Trent Cole has ‘no respect’ for Eagles after release from team

Ronda Rousey lands free ticket to Pacquiao-Mayweather bout

Report: Celtics to pursue Love, Monroe and Gasol this summer

Trying to solve the Alex Guerrero problem

Mets to host families of slain NYPD officers at spring training

Teams that should be on NCAA Tourney upset alert

SpongeBob SquarePants: The newest NASCAR race sponsor

Winners and losers of the NHL trade deadline

Andrew Luck shaved beard, left mustache

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

MLS 2015 season preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.