The Patriots had a need for a linebacker, and they finally selected one in the 5th Round. Ja’Whaun Bentley of Purdue University was the selection, and he brings size and leadership to a position group that is in need of depth and talent.
Bentley was the captain for the Boilmakers for three seasons, which says a lot about not just his character, but how the guys he plays with feel about him. Listed at 6’2, 260 pounds, Bentley appeared in 37 games over his four years at Purdue, bookending his career with 12-game seasons. He did battle injuries in college which cost him about 12 games during his sophomore, junior, and senior year.
Bentley finished his career with 160 solo tackles, 112 assisted tackles, 29.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, seven passes defended, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one touchdown return (76 yard interception return in ’17). Bentley was a three-star prospect in high school, but he may have been one of the most heavily recruited three-star prospects ever. Purdue, Boston College, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, UMass, Old Dominion, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, UNC, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Not only was he heavily recruited, he had the best schools in the SEC trying to secure his services.
The Patriots have never been afraid to take a player with injury issues, especially a player that they like, so this pick isn’t that much of a surprise in that respect. Bentley can clearly play, but can he stay healthy? That may be the question that decides if he is a good NFL player or a JAG. For the Patriots sake, they better hope for option one.