One defensive lineman for the Patriots to target in every round of the 2022 draft

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After the New England Patriots struggled for yet another year in defending the run, you can bet Bill Belichick is going to add talent to his defensive line. New England also has a lack of talent at the EDGE spot across from Matthew Judon, with Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Chase Winovich no longer with the team.

So the Patriots clearly need help — and it wouldn’t hurt to add cheap, young talent to the defensive line. That’s what the draft is good for. Here’s a look at a defensive lineman the Patriots could target in every round of the NFL draft.

Round 1: Travis Jones, DT, UCONN

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The 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive tackle is a unique prospect in what is becoming a lighter and smaller NFL. He had consistent production in his three years at UCONN with 40 or more tackles in all three seasons. In 2021, he had 4.5 sacks. He’s a prototypical space-eater to take over at nose tackle.

Round 2: Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky

Syndication: Online Athens

He was a fifth-year senior in 2021 and is 22 years old. He finished his final college season with 52 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble. Not only was he a proficient and dogged pass-rusher but he is also “a block of granite at the point of attack with low pads and a heavy anchor,” per NFL.com. At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, he is one of the rare prospects that still meets New England’s prototypical size on the EDGE. (College football is producing smaller LBs and EDGEs than ever.)

Round 3: Dominique Robinson, EDGE, Miami (Ohio)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Robinson started his college career at receiver — not unlike Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, a likely first-rounder. And because Robinson is making that transition, he is definitely slender at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. The Patriots might give him a year to drink smoothies with spinach and peanut butter and ice cream and all of the whey protein. But there’s plenty to like after he racked up 4.5 sacks and 28 tackles. The tweener could be a good fit to play outside linebacker and/or defensive end for New England.

Round 4: Matthew Butler, DT, Tennessee

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle would be likely to slide around the Patriots defensive line from nose to end — and surely that’s just fine by Belichick. Versatility is always good for the Patriots. Over the last three seasons, he had 40 or more tackles and five sacks in 2021. He’s a fifth-year senior and 22 years old.

Round 5: Thomas Booker, DT, Stanford

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Round 6: Christopher Allen, EDGE, Alabama

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Round 7: Jesse Luketa, EDGE, Penn State

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch

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