30 for 29: This is the fourth in a daily series of looks at 30 prospects the Patriots may consider selecting with the 29th overall pick at the 2014 NFL Draft.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
6-5, 304 pounds, 5/23/93
2011: 9 games, 30 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks
2012: 13 games, 47 tackles, 13 TFL, 12 sacks
2013: 13 games, 49 tackles, 9 TFL, 7.5 sacks
Huge kid drawing comparisons to Richard Seymour because of his length, power and speed. Can play end or tackle and is scheme-versatile. Grew up in Monroe, Ga. and selected Notre Dame over Georgia and Georgia Tech. A hernia surgery took away some of his conditioning prior to last year at Notre Dame and a fractured foot is currently impacting his predraft work for teams. The surgery and recovery from the hernia impacted his hip flexors and back as well. He has no off-field red flags.
TO THE GOOD
Powerful. A solid tackler with the strength, explosion combo necessary to power upfield and beat edge offensive linemen. Should be very good in the running game, Still young and there’s an opportunity to mold him into a special player. Long arms that can both disrupt passing lanes and help keep blockers at bay in the running game.
TO THE BAD
Those injuries are a concern as is the fact Tuitt’s weight ballooned last season and he played heavy-footed and slow because of the weight and resulting impact of the injury. Now, with a stress fracture, there’s a lot of projecting that teams will have to do when May 8 comes around.
Welllllll….pretty big risk-reward. If you marry Tuitt and Chandler Jones up on the left side at tackle and end, that’s a hassle to deal with. Both guys are 6-5, Jones is like a damn elk coming off the ball and Tuitt can be like a rhino. Tuitt can also – if he learns to play low – anchor inside against the running game. So the versatility is great. But Richard Seymour was 306 coming in and maybe about 315 going out and all he added was more muscle. That was a rare individual and Tuitt is going to have a hard time living up to that billing. But both were 20 when drafted and both came from Georgia. Very intriguing player the Patriots have already had in for a visit.