BOSTON (CBS) – Each week night leading up the 2015 NFL Draft, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones and Rich Keefe break down the biggest needs of the New England Patriots.

On Thursday night, the guys focused on pass rush prospects. Finding an elite edge rusher is an intriguing option for the Patriots, because the thought process out there is that with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner gone, getting after the quarterback will help out this weakened secondary.

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The Patriots already have Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, and their biggest free agent signing this offseason has been Jabaal Sheard, a talented edge rusher out of Cleveland.

But you can never have too many talented defensive ends or outside linebackers, so don’t be surprised if New England addresses the position in the upcoming draft.

Jones and Keefe look at all the prospects and break them down into three groups:

Group 1: Off The Board – These players are the best of the best, prospects who the Patriots have no chance at picking 32nd overall.

Group 2: The Targets – These are prospects who could be available to the Patriots.

Group 3: The Pick Is In – Jones and Keefe each reveal who they want to see the Patriots pick.

Off The Board


 

Dante Fowler #6 of the Florida Gators celebrates with fans following a victory on January 3, 2015.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Dante Fowler #6 of the Florida Gators celebrates with fans following a victory on January 3, 2015. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Dante Fowler Jr. – Florida

Jones: This is a guy I think will be the first edge rusher off the board. He’s 6-foot-3 and 261 pounds. The production there is not off the charts, the athleticism isn’t off the charts, but a lot of people feel like he can grow into that role at the next level, perhaps going as early as Jacksonville at pick #3.

Keefe: He’s a versatile guy. He can play outside linebacker, defensive end and you can even bump him inside if you want to go with a more athletic defensive line. He can play all over the place.

Randy Gregory – Nebraska

Jones: 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and was regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the draft . . . then he tested positive for marijuana multiple times both in college and at the Combine. That’s a red flag because you know the test is coming beforehand.

Keefe: I sort of see a young Jevon Kearse in him. I think he could be that good. He might be the best straight up pass rusher out of the group. Just insane. But he failed an idiot test at the Combine.

Shane Ray – Missouri

Jones: 6-foot-3, 245 pounds and he seems to be falling as well, maybe because a lack of athleticism. But he was super productive at Mizzou in the SEC.

Keefe: This guy is absolutely fascinating. He was the SEC Defensive Player Of The Year and you may remember him from the Championship game when he targeted [Alabama quarterback] Blake Sims and he was thrown out. He’s an easy guy to root for. He had a very tough upbringing. Missouri is a pass rusher factory. They just pump out defensive ends like Aldon Smith, Justin Smith. This guy might be one of the best of the bunch.

Vic Beasley – Clemson

Jones: He will be off the board by the time the Patriots pick at 32. He was a monster at the Combine. He’s 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds and could go in the top 10.

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Keefe: He was the fastest defensive lineman running at the Combine and he also put up the most reps on the bench. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, which is faster than some of the top running backs. He was the ACC Defensive Player Of The Year. I’ve read comparisons to Von Miller.

Bud Dupree – Kentucky

Jones: He’s 6-foot-4, 269 pounds and basically has the same measurables as [Patriots linebacker] Jamie Collins; the same type of broad jump as Collins. He could go in the top 10.

Keefe: I didn’t watch Kentucky play this year. But I’ll tell you what I did see: Bud Dupree at the Combine. He was an absolute freak there.

The Targets


Preston Smith #91 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates a sack against the Kentucky Wildcats on October 25, 2014.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Preston Smith #91 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs celebrates a sack against the Kentucky Wildcats on October 25, 2014. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Preston Smith – Mississippi State

Jones: This is a program where the Patriots have brought in a lot of undrafted guys from. He’s 6-foot-5 and 271 pounds.

Eli Harold – Virginia

Jones: This is a guy that is probably more athlete than production at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds.

Keefe: He ran a 4.6 40-yard dash and has great acceleration. He needs to get stronger. He’s one of these guys that may be more of an outside linebacker. I don’t know if he’s better with his hand up or down, but an intriguing athlete nonetheless.

Defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa #94 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a UCLA safety against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 8, 2012.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa #94 of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a UCLA safety against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on September 8, 2012. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – UCLA

Jones: Lots of injuries for this guy, but I like him a lot.

Keefe: He had two hip surgeries that cost him the 2013 season. He played as a 3-4 defensive end at UCLA. He’s clearly bounced back [from the injuries]. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash at the Combine, but if you’re going to invest a high pick in him you better check his medicals.

Other Notable Names: Danielle Hunter (LSU), Mario Edwards Jr. (Florida State)

The Pick Is In


 

To find out who Adam Jones and Rich Keefe desire most out of all the pass rush prospects, listen below!


Later in the evening, NFL Draft analyst Dan Kadar checked in with Jones to discuss the biggest areas of need for the Patriots.

Listen below!

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