How Good Will Deatrich Wise Be?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Type “Deatrich Wise vs” into the YouTube search field, then watch.

What do you see?

Against LSU in 2015 he was nearly unstoppable. Wise repeatedly beat LT Gerald Hawkins, who returned to the field after getting his left ankle taped. Wise took advantage of his wounded adversary and abused Hawkins often. Wise finished with six tackles, 2.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Fast forward to 2016 against Texas A&M and Wise Jr. looks ordinary. He doesn’t get to the quarterback quick enough to disrupt the Aggies’ quick pass offense. Oftentimes Wise is flummoxed by A&M’s option offense, sometimes tackling the wrong player or being too slow to react as the ball carrier accelerates past him. Wise had six tackles, one for a loss and no sacks.

The comparison to former Patriot Chandler Jones is obvious. Both are 6-5 with long limbs (though Wise outweighs Jones by about 20 pounds). Wise Jr also has a similar gait as Jones, as both are long striders.

To expect Wise to be as good as Jones because of similar attributes or will be the equal of fellow Arkansas Razorback DE Trey Flowers on day one is asking too much out of Wise Jr. too soon.

Similarities to pros, college pedigree, or bloodlines (his father, Deatrich Wise Sr., was a standout defensive lineman for the AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm) won’t determine if Wise develops into a productive defensive end in the NFL. The basic way to evaluate any player is to watch the tape.

Game reels don’t always tell the whole story, though. Wise Jr. was projected as a possible first round pick after totaling eight sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss in his junior year. He had a career high 49 total tackles in his senior year but just 3.5 sacks and 5.5 TFLs. But film doesn’t show Wise Jr. broke his hand in the season opener and separated his shoulder in week eight. For the rest of the year Wise Jr. was a third down specialist.

By the time the season ended and NFL Combine preparations were under way, CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler projected Wise Jr. to go in the seventh round.

So is Wise Jr. an every down force, best as a pass rush specialist, something in between, or something else entirely? We don’t know yet. He will start answering those questions in training camp and in preseason games. Film only tells so much, especially since the level of competition is significantly higher in the NFL.

Take a look at Wise Jr. in the East-West Shrine Game. The opposing coaches thought highly enough of him that Wise Jr. was double-teamed often. While held at bay, Wise still made plays as a pass rusher and defending the run. He looked like a complete player. Unofficially he had six tackles, three for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

Is that what the Patriots will get from Wise Jr.?

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