Patriots Defensive Tackle Lands in Hot Water With the NFL: Report

Getty Daniel Ekuale

New England Patriot defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale now finds himself in trouble with the NFL. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, Ekuale will be suspended for the first two games of the 2022 season. The reason for Ekuale’s suspension isn’t yet publicly known.

The reason for this suspension isn’t known, but back in 2018–while with the Cleveland Browns–Ekuale was suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. If Ekuale has been hit with a second suspension for violating the parameters of the program it could be a heavy blow for the remainder of his career.

In 2021, the Patriots elevated Ekuale from the practice squad multiple times. The 28-year-old Samoan and former Washington State standout has played three seasons in the NFL.

Over that time, Ekuale has played for the Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Patriots. In three seasons, Ekuale has played 23 games with five starts. Primarily a run-stuffer, Ekuale has tallied 3.0 sacks. Two of those sacks came in a Patriots uniform in 2021.

New England signed Ekuale to a futures contract in January. We’ll learn soon if this latest suspension cost him a spot on the Patriots’ roster heading into the regular season.

In Other Patriots News: Hunter Henry Falls Short of Elite TE Tier

Hunter Henry led the Patriots in touchdown receptions in 2021 with 9. However, that wasn’t enough for Pro Football Focus to consider the veteran tight end among the elite guys at his position in the NFL.

PFF’s Anthony Treash recently penned a 2022 tight-end rankings piece that had Henry fall into the “best of the rest” category behind guys like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, Las Vegas Raiders’ Darren Waller and the Baltimore Ravens’ Marc Andrews.

In raw rankings, Henry pulls up 10th on the list just behind the Detroit Lions’ T.J. Hockenson. While not being called elite could be considered an insult, it’s hard to find fault in Treash’s rankings.

Henry would seemingly be in the right spot at No. 10, and there is still a chance he could elevate himself with another strong season for the Patriots in 2022.

Trent Brown Called Team’s Second-Most Important Player

It’s obvious that second-year quarterback Mac Jones is going to be the team’s most important player. As he goes in 2022, so go the Patriots.

In support of Jones, the Patriots need strong play from their defense. However, if you were going to narrow things down to one player, offensive tackle Trent Brown is a good choice as the second-most important player on the roster.

That’s where Brown was ranked by Stephen Sheehan of The oft-injured and at times dominant mountain of a man will anchor the Patriots’ offensive line if he’s healthy and in shape in 2022.

The 6-foot-8, 380-pounder has missed 24 games over the past three seasons. That includes nine missed contests in 2021. If Brown plays and performs well, the Patriots’ offensive line looks strong. Brown, Isaiah Wynn, David Andrews, Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu could compete with any unit in the NFL–at least on paper.

Unfortunately, if you take Brown out of the lineup or downgrade his play, the O-Line charged with protecting Jones and paving holes for the run game doesn’t look as effective. A healthy and productive Brown is a major key for New England in 2022.

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James McClane
James McClane
9 days ago

Hunter Henry is every bit an elite TE as any of those other ones ranked by Treash who by the way is no better at a player evaluation than Kyper is.

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