Friday, May 2, 2014

New England Patriots on Paper - 2014 Big Board: Loaded Patriots can afford to be creative

New England Patriots' Big Board

When considering the needs of the New England Patriots in the 2014 draft, logic dictates that the current roster first be examined and then faulted to determine what the draft offers that your current personnel does not - which is common sense...

...but do the Patriots really need all that much?  Free agency already addressed a big need and a return to health will fill still others - and the experience that the reserves received last season filling in for most of the season makes depth that much more solid.
LSU's Hill is most often compared to Corey Dillon

They made it to the AFC Championship Game without Wilfork, Mayo and Tommy Kelly on defense and with the offense bogged down by injury and suspect play calling - they made it to the game, but failed to win it, and that where we have to begin because just the few moves they made in free agency would have been enough to overcome Denver for the title.

And with health, we have to admit that this team could very well take the field right now and be contenders without making another move - and when working from that baseline and considering that the draft is four rounds deep in quality at most positions, we can reasonably assume that the Patriots can make themselves even better by targeting:

*Linebacker depth with a cover 'backer/Big Nickle on the weak side that doubles as a nickle rusher from the second level and a downhill thumper in the middle to challenge Steve Beauharnais as the first line of depth in the middle;

*Developmental quarterback that, ideally, will be ready to assume spot starter duty immediately and then command of the offense as his rookie contract expires or Tom Brady retires, whichever comes first;

*A hard hitting strong safety or hybrid Big Nickle - a combination of a weakside linebacker and a strong safety - as well as a developmental corner to be mentored by Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner:

*A "move" tight end with inline blocking ability, perhaps looking at a bigger, faster wide receiver to groom into the position - ideally, this move tight end will have hybrid traits and brings some nastiness in the trenches;

*Bruising feature back to compliment Ridley in the power running game, grooming him to take over in 2015 should the team lose any of their backs in free agency - should be looking for the three-down type back so as to make the offense a bit less predictable on early downs;

*Interior line help, preferably a versatile center with mauling swing guard skill and a developmental tackle who will be ready to handle spot duty;

*Stout, developmental nose tackle as well as a nickle rush end that plays the run and can set the edge as well as rush the passer.

When generating a big board for a loaded team like New England in a depth draft such as this one, the team can afford to be a little creative, particularly if a desired player doesn't fall to them in the first round.  They have always been willing to wheel and deal, and trading their first round pick for a couple of extra second day selections could have more far-reaching impact, both for the short and long-term.

The second, third and fourth rounds are absolutely loaded with top shelf prospects in every one of the Patriots' "needs" - and while Bill Belichick already has four picks in what is commonly known as his wheelhouse, getting two or even three more is not beyond the realm of possibility, and would be the NFL equivalent of turning a child loose in a candy store with a fist full of cash.

After all, that's what happened in last year's draft - and if memory serves, that turned out ok.

That said, very few first round grades are present on this big board, listing only the players that would possibly compel Belichick to use his first round pick while the middle rounds are loaded with scheme-specific prospects.

First round grade

Ryan Shazier - LB/SS, Ohio State - Consider, the Big 12's leading tackler by a wide margin ran a 4.37 at Ohio State's Pro Day, a remarkable 40-time for a 6'1", 240 pound linebacker - and combined with his cover skills in both man and zone and the fact that he is as explosive a pass rusher as you'll find in this class coming off the second level and you have one freakish Big Nickle.

C. J. Mosley - LB, Alabama - Unique combination of superior talent and high motor, Mosley could emerge as one of the stars of this draft as an every down linebacker and can play anywhere on the second level with equal success.  A very useful weapon and potential Pro Bowl talent as a rookie. May be the most instinctive defender in the class.

Eric Ebron - TE, North Carolina - Some will argue that his pro day performance brought his draft stock down a bit - what with a plethora of dropped passes and still nursing a hamstring injury suffered at the combine, but some tight end-needy team will see enough to ensure he's taken in the top 20.

Joel Bitonio - OT/OG, Nevada - Like Martin, a clean prospect but with a mean streak a mile wide.  Played tackle at Nevada but will most likely need to move inside to guard in the pros.  Exceptionally strong and takes pride in devouring defensive lineman.

Kelvin Benjamin - WR, Florida State - Rare specimen, tight end-sized receiver that would probably be used in the "Move" tight end capacity in some formations for the Patriots, or any team that selects him - and may turn out to be the best in the bunch.

Zack Martin - OT/OG, Notre Dame - Clean prospect, doesn't possess outstanding length but can cover at tackle, power through at guard and can even play a little center.  Athletic more than massive, but very smart and excellent in pass protection.

Aaron Donald - DT/DE, Pittsburgh - Disruptor.  Is short but plays with vinegar and has the instincts of a cat - and is nearly as quick.  In the Patriots' scheme he would be a three-technique tackle or five-technique end and would serve as a perfect nickle rusher as he has the speed and recovery skill to chase to the sideline, set the edge and blow up screens.

Louis Nix - NT, Notre Dame - a motivated, Wilfork sized nose tackle that occupies a lot of space and blockers - the kind of talent that affords your linebackers space to move and make plays - seems to be a Wilfork type personality as well as he is talkative and well-liked, and can translate to the field.  Coming off a torn meniscus and dealing with tendonitis in his knees, ample attention will need to be paid to his medical evaluation.

Second round grade

Jimmy Garoppolo - QB, Northern Illinois - viewed as more of a safe game manager rather than big-time downfield playmaker, which isn't the worst thing in the world. Will require some patience with reads and game speed.

Troy Niklas - TE, Notre Dame - emerged as a legitimate tight end prospect in the past couple of years after converting from defensive end and outside linebacker - Of the prospects in the top two rounds, Niklas has the greatest upside.

Jimmie Ward - S, Northern Illinois - Ward is actually a combination between the free and strong varieties - like Harmon, but a more violent striker in the mold of Chung, going for the knockout blow when making contact, but whiffing on occasion. His speed in coverage is undeniable and would make a good backup for either Harmon or McCourty.

Demarcus Lawrence - DE, Boise State - perhaps the best true pass rusher in the draft, and is as explosive out of his blind-side stance any any in the class - but is a pass rusher only and limited to nickle duties as he is less than stout at the point of attack in the running game.

Carlos Hyde -RB, Ohio State - powerfully built at 6' 0" and 230 pounds, bell cow type back that seems to get stronger and nastier as the game progresses, and he completes the picture with solid in pass protection skill and shows soft hands in the pattern.

Stephon Tuitt - DE, Notre Dame - Projects as a base end in the 4-3 but can slide inside to the five or three technique and not be considered under-sized.  Quick and physically gifted, yet not as stout as one would think and had foot surgery after a fracture was diagnosed at the combine.

 Jason Verrett - CB, TCU - who is a smaller corner, but plays like he's ten feet tall and bullet proof.  An agitator not unlike Cortland Finnegan, but has speed to burn and treats the football like it's his.

Ra'Shede Hageman - DT, Minnesota -   A raw nickel pass-rusher that may be one of the biggest risks in the class.  Has undeniable skill and athleticism, but it doesn't always translate to the field - inconsistent as his motor is hot and cold, but could be a spectacular franchise type defensive tackle if he applied himself.

Deone Bucannon - SS, Washington State - possesses the size to handle the nickle safety duties, and may be the most violent striker in the draft - delivering the nasty hit, but is choppy in coverage, which relegates him to the box in the pro game.

Xavier Su'a Filo - OG, UCLA - played tackle at UCLA but is far more comfortable and effective at left guard.  Has mush for a body and needs to add some muscle, but is a nasty road grader as it is.

Tre Mason - RB, Auburn - impact receiver and dependable in pass protection. Explosive one-cut style - when he sees a hole he gains it more quickly than any other back in the class.  Has additional value as an experienced kick returner.

Timmy Jernigan - DT, Florida State -  undersized for a 4-3 nose tackle but has impressive strength to hold the point - would ideally be suited as a 3-4 move tackle but with New England would be more of a quick three-technique run stopper that would ideally never have to come off the field.  Is a bit injury prone.

Donte Moncrief - WR, Ole' Miss - Flat out flies and is aware of where everyone is supposed to be - and where the sticks and goal line are and uses leverage and huge jumping advantage to win contests with NFL sized corners - Moncrief is also a terrific blocker and hasn't realized his potential, the kind of kid that will develop his skill while terrorizing NFL secondaries.

Brandin Cooks - WR, Oregon State - blazing fast, Cooks projects out of the slot and as a vertical field stretcher on the flank.

Teddy Bridgewater - QB, Louisville - quiet, reserved and studious, determined to succeed and his football intangibles are off the charts, having everything that any football coach would want from not just a quarterback, but also from a team leader in the locker room and in the huddle - except for those small-ish hands and average arm.

Jace Amaro - TE, Texas Tech - combination of size and speed having both entities drooling over the prospect of watching the athletic Amaro stretching the seam, but is otherwise a one-dimensional slot target, albeit a good one.

Kony Ealy - DE, Missouri - Natural pass rusher with the frame to add more muscle to aid him in his softer than desired push against the run - but is a work in progress and would be best suited as a rookie in the nickle rusher role.Very athletic and could see time as rush linebacker as a result.

Marcus Martin - C/OG, USC - Plays more with technique than strength, though he possesses the bulk and muscle mass to be a dominant center or right guard for years to come, particularly if a team takes the time to let him acclimate to the pro game and gets him into a weight room.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - TE, Washington - the concern is how the better defenses in the Pac-12 were able to neutralize him for periods in games last season and is a bit of a project as an in-line blocker, but could still present the appropriate value at the end of the second round.

Davante Adams - WR, Fresno State - possession receiver that has tons of upside and does most of his damage after the catch.

Dee Ford - DE, Auburn - linebacker sized defensive end that probably would be best suited as a rush linebacker in the nickle, as he offers little against the run.  Has a constant motor and gets after the quarterback best from the left side.

A. J. McCarron - QB, Alabama - game-managing quarterback who has shown he can carry an offense and could be a possibility with his football IQ and mechanics and decision making ability.

Gabe Jackson - OG, Missisippi State - Wide and heavy with a solid base, would be an exceptional value as a right guard at the end of the second round or even the third.

Christian Jones - ILB, Florida State - Big-time athletic ability and intriguing size/speed mixture - he is not as instinctive enough as yet to man the middle of a 4-3, so he would be relegated to nickle rusher while being coached up. 

Third round grade

C. J. Fiedorowicz - TE, Iowa -  already a better blocker than any of the talent ahead of him on the big board, he is also a reliable receiver - the most balanced of the prospects in the class and could be taken higher than his third round grade.

David Yankey - OG, Stanford - perhaps too tall for the position at 6' 6", Yankey still is able to brace himself and work under the pads on defensive tackles.  Big and mean and ready to start in a power running game, especially with his pulling ability.

Adrian Hubbard - OLB/DE, Alabama -  a 6' 6", 260 pound strong side 'backer that can play upright or with his hand in the dirt against the opposition's right tackle and tight ends.  Is one of very few OLB prospects that play the run and pass equally well - though speed is an issue and is a bit of a diva.

Trai Turner - C/OG, LSU - built for road grading, but will need some pro coaching to bring the best out of him, which would be as a bully on the interior line and may be a better center than guard.

Rashaad Reynolds - CB, Oregon State -  Reynolds may be the most natural man cover corner in the class, and is considered a steal if a team can pick him up at his projected third round grade - obviously shorter than the trend toward taller corners would be able to satisfy, Reynolds still does everything well and would benefit from New England's luxury of being able to bring him along at his own pace rather than just be thrown into the fire, but from the looks of it, he would be able to handle that anyway... 

Colt Lyerla - TE, Oregon - a mid to late round gem, the baggage that come with him has "locker room cancer" written all over it. First round talent with seventh round Red Flags.

Terrance West -RB, Towson - While standing just 5' 9" tall, West is impressive physically at 225 pounds, is uniquely built to handle the rigors of running between the tackles, lower his pads to initiate contact with the defender and has an extra gear once he breaks free - and his receiving skill are top notch.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif - OT/OG, McGill College - plays both tackle and guard positions for McGill College and is expected to be the top pick in the Canadian Football League draft.  Is a nasty street fighter in the trenches and would project at one of the guard positions with the natural ability to slide out to tackle is needed.

Ed Stinson - DE, Alabama - 6' 3" and a stout 290 pounds, and just might be the ticket in Foxborough - country strong, he doesn't worry about fancy moves, he just drives the tackle back into the pocket and may be the best 4-3 defensive end against the run in the class.  Similar in build to former teammate Dont'a Hightower and has a similar upside in versatility as he can move inside, all the way if needed.  Terrific value in the third round.

Antone Exum - CB, Virginia Tech - size and confidence are very appealing, would be good value so long as he's fully recovered from off-season knee surgery.  At six-foot-even and 220 pounds, Exum is an excellent physical specimen for both corner and safety duty.

Brock Vereen - S, Minnesota - Intelligent, athletic, rangy free safety with desirable strength and cover skills to go along with football bloodlines. Needs to improve against the run but is instinctive and brings terrific intangibles that could propel him into a role as a starter and defensive leader. 

Jeremiah Attaochu - OLB, Georgia Tech - provides a relentless pass rush from the weak side but offers little against the run, relegating him to nickle duties only.  Would be best suited as a 3-4 weakside backer.

Cyril Richardson - OG, Baylor - perhaps the nastiest road grading guard in the class that has the ability to re-establish the line of scrimmage in the run game. Can also slide out to right tackle in a backup role.

Keith McGill  - CB, Utah - a big, rangy corner with a safety background and a heart full of ill-intent toward his foes.  McGill doesn't always make the best decisions - neither on the field or off - so he needs to go to a team that has the veteran leadership to bring out the best in him...

Jordan Matthews - WR, Vanderbilt - a thin 6' 3", 210 pounds but runs a 4.46 and catches everything thrown his way and lines up everywhere - seriously needs to add some bulk to his frame but would be a steal in the late second, early third rounds

Brandon Thomas - OG, Clemson - as a left tackle in college, was one of the rare athletes that handled Jadeveon Clowney without help, but with his strength and mass will project at left guard in the pros - but the experience at left tackle will surely come into play at some point.

Bashaud Breeland - CB, Clemson - shows some of the same stickiness in coverage that Reynolds does and is a better overall athlete, but has pedestrian speed at best, which would limit him to zone or short area man, such as the slot.

Trent Murphy - OLB/DE, Stanford - projects as a base left end in the 4-3 or a rush OLB in an odd front - is an instinctive and relentless pass rusher and is experienced in dealing with chipping tight ends on the line which makes him a decent nickle rusher prospect. 

Kareem Martin - DE, North Carolina - Big famed project at left defensive end that is best suited for a 3-4 rush linebacker that could develop into a terror as a base end of a 4-3 with some pro coaching. 

Ka'Deem Carey - RB, Arizona - perhaps the most gifted runner in the class, with similar size and skill to Hyde and could find his way into being someone's franchise back with his combination of speed, power and receiving ability.

Jeremy Hill - RB, LSU - at 6' 1" and 235 pounds, is a unique threat as he can play it anyway you want - he will power through the line or slash through a hole to daylight and has good hands, both in protecting the ball and for snagging passes curling out of the backfield and is instinctive in pass protection.

Allen Robinson - WR, Penn State - the 6' 2", 220 pounder is more of an outside the numbers target and has a little Brandon Lloyd in him as he will look for a place to sit down after the catch rather than look for extra yardage..

Devonta Freeman  - RB, Florida State - second day gem as he has the ability of any of the top backs, but back issues hurt his stock while having the luxury of running behind one of the better offensive lines in the college ranks inflates his value somewhat, but is an explosive runner with a slippery side that could become a three-down back.

Marqueston Huff - SS/CB, Wyoming - Huff is a legitimate second day talent.  Smart, fast and tough with terrific range as a safety with rare closing speed in support and has the straight-line speed to stick vertically.  Perhaps smaller that many teams would prefer from their defensive backs given the current trends, but an incredible talent buried in an average program.

Logan Thomas  - QB, Virginia Tech - Pretty much the perfect developmental project.  has intriguing, raw arm.  Is a converted tight end that could be a starter in the league with a patient coaching staff and a couple of years to refine his skill set.

Travis Swanson - C, Arkansas - Experienced and intelligent center who will have to bulk up to handle the rigors of the NFL, though he faced NFL caliber defensive tackles in college and more than held his own.  A project that is purely a center.

Bishop Sankey - RB, Washington - an instinctive, competitive and shifty, low-to-the-ground hard runner. Can be effective as a complementary zone runner capable of moving the chains and picking up chunk yards. 

Andre Williams - RB, Boston College - Heisman Trophy finalist - a taller prospect in the same mold, but his lack of production in the passing game makes him a bit of a wildcard.

Zack Mettenberger - QB, LSU - is right on that cusp of being NFL ready but is a work in progress that probably will take at least a season behind an incumbent to refine skills, but has experience in pro style and is a classic drop back pocket passer that hard-sells the play-action.

Dakota Dozier - OG, Furman - another left tackle that will kick inside at the pro level - big time street fighter that needs a little refinement in his pass blocking, which makes him a bit of a project, but has the versatility to play anywhere along the line, even center. Exceptional run blocker.

Russell Bodine - C, North Carolina - Mean and nasty interior load that delivers his best shot snap after snap - real lunch pail type and also has some swing versatility. Excellent in pass protection and looks to level linebackers in the run game.

Scott Crichton - DE, Oregon State - a project, Crichton doesn't have a true position - not athletic enough for the blind side and not stout enough for the strong side, plus doesn't have ideal length or strength to play rush linebacker - so will need plenty of coaching, because there has to be a place for a football player like Crichton.

Telvin Smith - ILB, Florida State - an instinctive but undersized linebacker that projects as a weaksider in the pros - and is a fall back candidate as a strong safety if need be.  Quick to fill in run support and has wheels to handle the backs coming out into the pattern.

Fourth round grade

Marcel Jensen - TE, Fresno State - skill set was woefully under-used in Fresno's spread offense, making him a bit of a wildcard.  His history as a basketball player fits him in with the growing trend in tight ends toward the athletic pass catching type, but is also a load in the running game as an inline blocker.

Crockett Gillmore - TE, Colorado State - is pretty much exactly what the present-day Patriots should be looking for in a tight end - a willing, chippy blocker with tremendous size and a nasty streak in dealing with blocking defensive ends and outside linebackers.

DaQuan Jones - NT - Penn State - at 6' 3" and 325 pounds has a solid base to work with and a frame that could handle another ten pounds of muscle - developmental nose tackle that has displayed NFL-ready physicality.  Is known as on off-side loafer, but that won't last long in the pros.

Kyle Van Noy - OLB, Brigham Young -  Athletic and smooth pass rusher from the weak side and gets upfield quickly, but seems indifferent to defending the run.  A nickle 'backer only.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste - CB, Nebraska - Jean-Baptiste is another big corner with lots of strength but not a whole lot of speed, odd for a converted receiver but has excellent ball skills - perhaps even projecting as a safety in the pros.

Daniel McCullers - DT, Tennessee - at 6' 7" and 350 pounds, one would think McCullers would be an immovable entity, and perhaps he will be at some point but is currently a project that could use a year on a practice squad to get coached up in technique. 

Jarvis Landry  - WR, LSU - small, plodding possession receiver much in the mold of Julien Edelman, though not nearly as fast - has terrific hands and catches everything as a safety valve.

Tom Savage - QB, Pittsburgh - has better athleticism than any quarterback in the wheelhouse and all of the skill - but is extremely raw and will need a year or two being coached up before his potential is realized. May project higher as draft approaches.

Charles Sims - RB, West Virginia - Athletic, competitive, tough, upright slasher who is an asset as a receiver -- hands rate among the best on a RB in recent years.

Preston Brown - ILB, Louisville - Big-time violent striker that also sets the attitude on defense.  Highly intelligent and a vocal leader, throwback two-down run-stuffer.

Chris Watt - OG, Notre Dame - Another street fighter who has plenty of experience in multiple schemes.  Is a bit injury prone, but tends to work through injury - though he missed time last season with a torn PCL. 

Dri Archer - RB, Kent State - could fit into a third down back type of role, 4.26 40 yard dash at combine.

Jeff Janis - WR, Saginaw Valley State - sub 4.4 speed and incredible leaping ability.  Janis also has some Brandon Lloyd in him, seeking to get to the ground after the catch and gets lost in heavy traffic - but all things considered, he is an intriguing speed merchant with the intangibles (6' 3", 220 pounds) worthy of a fourth or fifth round selection...

Chris Borland - ILB, Wisconsin - throwback-type downhill run-stuffer with decent athleticism and peerless instincts.  Sliding down boards due to recently discovered medical issues.

Dominique Easley - DT, Florida - Medical red flags abound as Easley has had both knees surgically repaired after tearing ACLs.  Understands and uses leverage inside, but will find himself man-handled by better guards and chasing the play from behind. 

De'Anthony Thomas  - RB, Oregon - A deluxe, specialty back and potential slot receiver with game-breaking return ability, Thomas can be an explosive mismatch weapon in multiple facets of the game.

Jerick McKinnon - RB, Georgia Southern - possesses the athletic ability to warrant a chance as a change-of-pace back in the pros. Could even be tried as a return man

Weston Richburg - C, Colorado State - a lightweight but smart and technically refined center who makes all of the calls and communicates well.  A project, he may have the versatility to move outside to guard, but needs to add more bulk. 

Shaq Evans  - WR, UCLA - good sized possession receiver that competes for everything.

Alfred Blue - RB, LSU - At 6' 2" and 225 pounds, Blue is a second-rounder on talent alone, but injuries limited Blue’'s body of work - so he's a bit of a wildcard, but appears to work well in any scheme - has terrific hands out of the backfield but could use some work in pass protection.

T. J. Jones  - WR, Notre Dame - A Tom Brady receiver: runs crisp routes, has sticky hands- intelligent and mature and a team captain, needs to bulk up to add a measure of physicality to his game.

Brandon Coleman - WR, Rutgers - incredible size.  Featuring possession receiver speed, the 6" 6", 230 pound Coleman should be available in the late third round, possibly even the fourth round as his elusiveness has yet to catch up with his long legs and is a bit gangly - but is well worth a flyer on the second day.

Fifth round grade

Jeff Mathews - QB, Cornell - sloth-footed with very limited athleticism, Mathews is nevertheless exactly what the Patriots should be looking for to back up Brady for the next three seasons - has every leadership and intellectual trait necessary with big hands and a big accurate arm. Mathews could be developed into a fine replacement.

Trey Burton - TE, Florida - small for the position and is more of an H-back, logging snaps at Florida as a "wildcat" type quarterback, fullback, half back, wide receiver and, of course, tight end.  His smallish frame may render him to that of a slot receiver, but otherwise he is a man without a true position...

Spencer Long - OG, Nebraska - Huge mauler that offers little athleticism thanks to a knee injury that required season-ending surgery, so it is unclear if he will be ready for camp.  Shows enough nastiness to compete and is truly an elite short-area pass and run blocker but can not get to the second level to re-establish the line of scrimmage.

Shayne Skov - ILB, Stanford - Instinctive and intense as a two down run defender, but Skov tore his ACL in his junior season and struggled through his senior campaign unable to plant and drive - otherwise he would be a steal in the middle rounds.  Still possesses just minimal range of motion.

Stephen Morris - QB, Miami - has a bigger arm than either McCarron or Garoppolo and he has the leadership skill to command an offense.  Morris represents the start of the list of throwers that should land in Belichick's wheelhouse for a developmental role that could be molded into a legit NFL starter...

Larry Webster - DE/TE, Bloomburg College - is listed as a defensive end that could develop into a fine nickle rusher, though he is very thin for the position and most scouts see him value switching to the other side of the ball as a "Move" type tight end.  Has the size, wingspan, athletic ability and coordination to create mismatches as a tight end.  Intriguing versatility.

Bruce Ellington  - WR, South Carolina - Explosive off the line and can eat up the cushion in a hurry, but is short and tends to disappear in games.

James Baker - RB, Idaho - 4.50 at 240 pounds, A big, powerful runner with soft hands - needs to take better care with the ball, but that is the only thing lacking in his game.

John Urschel - C/OG, Penn State - quick and tenacious interior blocker who will probably have to abandon any plans for guard at the next level as his intelligence and athleticism will see him as a center. 

Max Bullough - ILB, Michigan State - Big, slow, lumbering but incredibly smart, durable and tough.  A throwback middle linebacker that will have to come off the field in the nickle but will be a big-time presence in the run defense.

Kevin Norwood - WR, Alabama - an exceptional route runner with great concentration and hands and sub 4.5 speed and is a try hard pass catcher with undeniable character, but will be available in the fifth round due to having troubles coming off jams at the line and is purely a receiver, not showing blocking ability and has limited elusiveness after the catch.

Reggie Jordan - TE, Missouri Western - At 6' 3" and 240 pounds and running a 4.77, Jordan easily managed to dominate his small school opposition, but at the big school and pro levels, he is a developmental H-Back with tremendous upside if he ever refines his route running and blocking

Jared Abbrederis - WR, Wisconsin - rail thin and needs some NFL weight room exposure, but is incredibly intelligent and mature and has been described by friend and foe alike as a coach on the field.  His average elusiveness after the catch and concussion history have prompted his slide to a fifth round prospect.

Jordan Zumwalt - ILB, UCLA - Big and violent, his claim to fame is knocking Virginia Tech Quarterback Logan Thomas cold on a blitz.  Lunchpail type that loves the game, but may never be more than a two-down run stuffer. 

Tyler Larsen C, Utah State - a brick wall with little versatility or athleticism.  Smart, big and dependable, good pass blocker but doesn't offer much to the second level or in pulling. 

Storm Johnson  - RB, big, nifty-footed runner with enough run strength and burst to be productive in a downhill power scheme or as a one-cut zone runner. However, he will have to take better care of the football and make strides in pass protection to earn carries.

Tyler Gaffney  - RB, Stanford - showing inside running skills as a big, athletic, downhill back willing to grind out the tough yards. Has the determination and competitiveness to earn a backup role for a power-running team.

Ryan Carrethers - NT, Arkansas State - What Carrethers brings to the field can't be taught short and stout but strong as a house, was built to be a rotational two-gap run stuffer - and is NFL ready in that capacity. 

Sixth round grade

Martavis Bryant  - WR, Clemson - A true project for a patient coaching staff - described as "Lazy", rounds off routes and is not a student of the game - but possesses incredible athleticism if the light ever turns on.

Richard Rodgers  - TE, California - natural "F" tight end skills. Is an unpolished product, but could be a better pro than college player.

Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College -  A workout warrior, Pierre-Louis could very well be the most versatile linebacker in the class this side of Shazier, as he played the weakside for half of his college career, strong side the latter half, while playing the equivalent of nickle safety when the situation dictated - and he ran a 4.51 at the combine, plus finished in the top three in just about every agility drill there.

Will Clarke - DE, West Virginia -  Developmental base end in a 4-3 front, has been most compared to Chandler Jones in style and size, but is a true project.

Blake Annen  - TE, Cincinnati - Produced exceptional results at his pro day, blazing a 40-time (4.41) faster than many receivers. Scrappy in-line blocker --

LaDarius Perkins - RB, Miss. State - Undersized, competitive, change-of-pace back who was bothered by an ankle injury as a senior, but offers enough of a balanced skill set, including good acceleration, to be a better pro than college player. Evaluators would benefit to revisit junior tape for best indication of his ability.

Devin Street - WR, Pittsburgh - Pitt's all-time leading pass catcher, big but narrow who chews up the cushion but has limited physicality in his game and is somewhat of a plodder.  Nice red zone target.

Seventh round grade

A. C. Leonard - TE, Tennessee St. One dimensional move tight end with little blocking prowess - very raw

Rob Blanchflower - TE, Massachusetts - may get a look-see from the Patriots but it's hard to imagine that he could be much more than an inline blocker and occasional red zone threat, as he has reliable hands and is a willing pass catcher, but with limited athleticism

George Atkinson  - RB, Notre Dame - Is not a natural running back, but has raw tools to warrant consideration as a developmental, one-cut slasher. Better tester than football player. Solid combine numbers.

Jay Prosch  - FB, Auburn - An old-school fullback with explosive power to pave the way as an iso-lead blocker and enough speed and athletic ability to carve a niche as a core special-teams performer. Valuable pass protector with good hands and short-yardage running power to contribute when needed.

James Wilder, Jr. - RB, Florida State - at 6' 3" and 235 pounds, Wilder relies on brute strength to make up for his limited foot speed, but is a hammer up the middle and an effective cutter on the edge.  He has good hands and is decent in pass protection, which makes this plodding but powerful and explosive runner a good fit for New England's stable of rotational backs, but maybe not a feature back.

1 comment:

  1. Add Nikita Whitlock FB/DT Wake Forest 5' 10 280. I saw him play at least 4 times last year and he was very disruptive. Pats worked him out at FB.

    Also Dan Sorensen S BYU Very quick 3 cone times. Instinctive and 6' 1"