04/30/2012 - Third-round pick Jake Bequette is the eighth defensive player from the SEC on the Patriots' roster and the second one (Hightower) selected in the 2012 draft. Coach Bill Belichick on trading a second-round pick for a third- and fifth-round selection (the former which was used to select Bequette): "Some trades looked better than others when you put them up against each other, but in all honesty, the picks are moving pretty quickly and we kind of focus more on what the opportunities were rather than sit around and analyze each one." - The Sports Xchange
A four-year starter, Bequette (beck-ETT) was a three-star defensive end/tight end recruit out of high school, choosing hometown Arkansas over Kansas State. After redshirting in 2007, he saw immediate action in 2008 as a redshirt freshman (11 starts), recording 27 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and one pass breakup. Bequette played in all 13 games in 2009 as a sophomore (8 starts), finishing with 39 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two pass break-ups and two forced fumble.
He started all 13 games in 2010 as a junior, recording 32 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, 3 pass break-ups and 1 forced fumble, earning Second Team All-SEC honors. Bequette battled a hamstring injury in 2011 as a senior, but still had his most productive season (10 starts), finishing with 28 tackles, a team-high 10.5 tackles for loss, an SEC-best 10.0 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 1 pass break-up, earning First Team All-SEC honors.
Bequette, who is the fourth member of his family to play football at Arkansas, had a productive collegiate career and looked most comfortable lining up at the 9-technique defensive end position where he could isolate blockers in space with a running start. He looks like a fish out of water at times when dropping in space at linebacker, but loves the game of football and has the overachieving mentality that he can do anything.
Bequette is a stiff, upright runner with one-speed and limited explosive qualities, but is tough to stop when he is playing at full-go with intensity -- mid-round pick with borderline pro starting traits who won't wow athletically, but fights through the whistle and gets the most out of his ability.
Strengths: Has a solidly-built frame with good upper body strength and tenacity, working hard to the ball. Plays fast with good initial quickness and closing speed to create havoc in the backfield. Possesses accurate snap anticipation and timing to beat blockers off the edge. Offers some versatility, rushing from a two and three point stance with the playing speed to stand up in space. Has good awareness against the run, setting the edge and holding contain. A relentless rusher with a competitive attitude and drive that are top-shelf -- overachiever and rushes like every play is his last. Possesses the strength to be a bull rusher and abuse blockers -- load to handle and will attract some holding penalties. Picks up energy as the game goes on and gets the most out of his ability. Team leader with a productive collegiate resume as a four-year starter (31.0 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks and 8 forced fumbles), leading the SEC in sacks in 2011.
Weaknesses: Very average athletically with tight hips and straight-line speed. Shorter than ideal with average measureables. Possesses only average burst from a stationary position with body stiffness, lacking "special" explosion -- will struggle to win the edge at the next level. Not a natural bender, which limits his pass rush moves, and shows no secondary moves. Lacks overpowering strength and struggles to disengage at the point -- too often stonewalled off the snap. Has pedestrian hand placement and technique. Possesses streaky base strength and can be driven and redirected off the line of scrimmage in the run game. Needs to play smarter and control his aggression -- will hit too late at times. Needs to consistently bring down the ballcarrier once he get his hands on them -- doesn't always finish. Missed three games in 2011 with hamstring injury.
NFL Comparison: Thomas Keiser, Carolina Panthers
-- Dane Brugler