***2012 Patriots Draft Thread***! THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Also can't wait to see Randle, Jones, Sanu, Wylie, McNutt, Wright & Quick, run.
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18! : His routes are impressing me. He's taking a couple extra steps on hard cuts then most guys but he's also getting their faster then most guys so not a big deal. On a couple of the sidelines he's taking a slightly larger angle which slows him down but he's not going to be a 5-10yrd hook guy so he'll have separation before making the turn. as a 15+yrd guy he's going to be something to watch for in the pro's. I' starting to think we should grab him at #48 if he's there. He has the size that people like me want in the sideline presence but has the speed MB is looking for as a vertical stretcher. He's got a great package IF he's smart enough to understand routes
    Posted by PatsEng[/QUOTE]

    This is now where the interview with BB is important, does he have enough football IQ?  We know he will not be a polished route runner (although much better than given credit for), but does he understand concepts of Os and D alignments ect.

    If he does well there I say at 48 yes but there might be a team that goes and gets him before that.  One team will fall in love with his shorts times ect.  So far this is the best combine workout to me so far, Phillip Blake and Glenn also very impressive workouts.

    Blake I expected but Glenn who I've watched really blew it up.  Wasn't expecting him to move that well, he's a tackle or guard in my book.  He has the tools to be a RT, maybe even LT with a bit of work.  Has the power and leverage to move inside.  

    So far these three I think have helped themselves the most.  
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Morning Boys, Getting a late start on WR's, very impressed with the straightline speed of Hill, Floyd, Coale (good late round option) and Chris Givens (a pretty fluid/sudden kid with straightline speed to match, I like him as a mid-rounder).  Was a little suprised to see Adams run only a 4.44, but the kid is very fast/sudden on the football field nonetheless and I still like him a lot.
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    Morning,

    I left for 20 minutes, just got back hopping I didn't miss Jones.  I think he will not be a Hill type combine but he will not be far behind.  Those 2nd tier WRs (Randles, Sanu, Jeffreys ect) better watch out there are some guys making a huge impression for a 2nd round grade. Not saying combine its why but they are making GMs and coaches go watch.  For Hill, if he was in a spread or pro style he would be a 1st rounder, and BTW I had talked about him before.  This is not just based on combine.  really like my Georgia and Tech guys.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    4.48 unofficial for Marvin Jones, nice.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    M. Jones 4.48, about what I expected.  Thought he be around 4.43/4.45
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from WazzuWheatfarmer. Show WazzuWheatfarmer's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Hill was a guy I was hoping would be available in the 3rd Rnd if we missed out on Randle.  Looks like he will be gone well before that now.  I still like Randle, but McD has shown willingness to take an early chance on a raw but special athlete at WR in Demarius Thomas.  I love the depth of this WR class.  Also, I still love Joe Adams.  4.44 is by no means a slow time, and the strength of his game is quickness and sudden change-of-direction anyway. 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Hill was a guy I was hoping would be available in the 3rd Rnd if we missed out on Randle.  Looks like he will be gone well before that now.  I still like Randle, but McD has shown willingness to take an early chance on a raw but special athlete at WR in Demarius Thomas.  I love the depth of this WR class.  Also, I still love Joe Adams.  4.44 is by no means a slow time, and the strength of his game is quickness and sudden change-of-direction anyway. 
    Posted by WazzuWheatfarmer[/QUOTE]

    Hill is not making out of the 1st half of second round.  But again for me is how smart is he with film.  But given his speed, production in O with limited oportunities (29 yard average per catch) a team will take him.  I think right now, oh boy but right now he's ahead of Sanu, Randle and all those guys.  

    All teams 33 to 44 or have WR as one of their needs.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Quick- 4.48 unofficial.

    Randle- 4.50.. also a bit smaller than originall though, coming in under 6-3.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Pats7393. Show Pats7393's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Brian quick 4.48, that's huge for his size.  He showed his skills at Senior Bowl, another one who could be on the way up.

    THis is really a good deep draft for WRs.

    Might be the time for BB to pull the trigger on a couple of them as he did last year with RBs.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from WazzuWheatfarmer. Show WazzuWheatfarmer's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Also of note:  AJ Jenkins, Illinois 4.37;  McNutt  Iowa  4.42.  Both pretty impressive.
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Also of note:  AJ Jenkins, Illinois 4.37;  McNutt  Iowa  4.42.  Both pretty impressive.
    Posted by WazzuWheatfarmer[/QUOTE]

    I missed McNutt's 40, but that's pretty damn good.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    The Wrights, Jarius (4.41) is faster than Kendall (4.45).

     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Aaron Hernandez, 4.64 6'2.3" 245lbs
    Sanu 4.65 6'2" 211lbs

    Enough said about Sanu?

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Wylie with a 4.37... boom, love this kid as an option for NE.

     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]The Wrights, Jarius (4.41) is faster than Kendall (4.45).
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    Jarius, one of the two I'm looking for on draft day.
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Aaron Hernandez, 4.64 6'2.3" 245lbs Sanu 4.65 6'2" 211lbs Enough said about Sanu?
    Posted by Pats7393[/QUOTE]

    I had Randle /> Sanu before today and that definitely hasn't changed.

    Sanu hurt himself today, especially with the # of "big" WR's running low/sub 4.4.

    Randle is the #1 "big" WR on my board (#1 overall WR actually), assuming Floyd is not in the discussion.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Morning Boys, Getting a late start on WR's, very impressed with the straightline speed of Hill, Floyd, Coale (good late round option) and Chris Givens (a pretty fluid/sudden kid with straightline speed to match, I like him as a mid-rounder).  Was a little suprised to see Adams run only a 4.44, but the kid is very fast/sudden on the football field nonetheless and I still like him a lot.
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    MB It's not just Hills' speed. I've been watching the ctaching drills and Hill seems very fluid anf has the softest hands I've seen yet. They are so soft you can bearly hear him catch the ball. Very impressive

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from mbeaulieu07. Show mbeaulieu07's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18! : Hill is not making out of the 1st half of second round.  But again for me is how smart is he with film.  But given his speed, production in O with limited oportunities (29 yard average per catch) a team will take him.  I think right now, oh boy but right now he's ahead of Sanu, Randle and all those guys.   All teams 33 to 44 or have WR as one of their needs.
    Posted by Pats7393[/QUOTE]

    To play devil's advocate, this kind of brings us back into the discussion of production vs. upside, especially high in the draft.  Hill is a kid that looks the part (much like Price/Tate), but 49 career catches leaves a lot to be desired (understanding that he's coming from an option offense (Chan Gailey was Calvin's college coach).  The recent success of Demaryius Thomas (who had similar size/speed) will certainly help this kind in the minds of teams though, IMO.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    I love the film I saw on Quick. Very ellusive and great YAC ability. With low 4.4 speed that's impressive.  

    Hrm going to really have to rethink my WR rankings.  

    Right now I'm going (with options that could be there)

    Hill
    Randle
    Quick
    McNutt
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18! : I had Randle /> Sanu before today and that definitely hasn't changed. Sanu hurt himself today, especially with the # of "big" WR's running low/sub 4.4. Randle is the #1 "big" WR on my board (#1 overall WR actually), assuming Floyd is not in the discussion.
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    I like Sanu but not for what the Pats need (well what we feel they need).  Sanu too similar to Hernandez and Underwood is faster and has been in the system.  I'm looking for that #1 type receiver who is a burner.

    I'm not considering the top 3 WRs because they'll be off the board.  So second rnd and beyond guys I really like M. Jones, J. Wright, Hill (before the combine now even more), Randle
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from moskk. Show moskk's posts

    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]Morning Boys, Getting a late start on WR's, very impressed with the straightline speed of Hill, Floyd, Coale (good late round option) and Chris Givens (a pretty fluid/sudden kid with straightline speed to match, I like him as a mid-rounder).  Was a little suprised to see Adams run only a 4.44, but the kid is very fast/sudden on the football field nonetheless and I still like him a lot.
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    Congrats!  Your comment on the relevance of being "field fast" is right on.  While straight-line speed is impressive and 3-cone performance supportive it's more what you do with what you got that ultimately counts the most.  In addition, the ability to find the ball, react and even fight for possession are equally important.  Lastly, it's always rewarding to get additional yards after the catch...but at least catch the ball FIRST (which presumes good route running and the ability to gain separation.

    Until such time as BB gets to address all the other stuff we need to temper our enthusiasm for "speed" as the ultimate objective.  It's why Blackman is rated top 5-10 in this draft.
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18! : To play devil's advocate, this kind of brings us back into the discussion of production vs. upside, especially high in the draft.  Hill is a kid that looks the part (much like Price/Tate), but 49 career catches leaves a lot to be desired (understanding that he's coming from an option offense (Chan Gailey was Calvin's college coach).  The recent success of Demaryius Thomas (who had similar size/speed) will certainly help this kind in the minds of teams though, IMO.
    Posted by mbeaulieu07[/QUOTE]

    Also Calvin Johnson came from that same O.  Johnson had 78 catches his senior season and that was 2nd best all time in tech history.  These guys don't catch a ton of passes.

    Hill's 29 yard per catch average makes you say hmmmm, he runs better routes that he's given credit for and in run support he's top notch (had more than enough practice there with an O that runs 80% of snaps.
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Oh and I'm not calling Hill, the new Calvin Johnson.  Just in case someone thinks I'm going there.
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!


    Pass Rush---By Mike Reiss

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Quick hits on some of the top prospects at the combine who might be of interest to the Patriots from a pass-rush perspective: 

    1. Clemson DE/OLB Andre Branch. With 10.5 sacks last season, the 6-foot-4, 259-pound Branch has solid size to possibly fit as a defensive end in a four-man front or outside linebacker in a 3-4. Branch talked about how Clemson had certain packages on defense where he dropped into coverage, which showed he is more than just a pass rusher. At the same time, he prides himself on getting to the quarterback, often using a "dip" move that he called his favorite. He models his game after Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. "I'm a versatile player. I can stand up, I can run sideline to sideline and I can also drop into coverage. And I'm a natural born leader," said Branch, who graduated in December with a degree in sociology. He's a projected first- or second-round pick. 

    2. North Carolina DE Quinton Coples. Considered by analysts as a boom or bust first-round option, the 6-foot-5, 284-pound Coples has dominated at times, while disappearing at others. He enters the draft with the rap that he shut it down as a senior. "It was a situation that my coach asked me to do, make a change. I made that change and I think I think I ran into some things a little more than I should have instead of just playing the game that I love," he explained. "It kind of affected my game. But overall, I went to the Senior Bowl, I did some things, and I showed them that I can compete at the highest level." Coples is the type of player who could slide on draft day, but in the event that happens, it's hard to imagine it would be as far as the Patriots' pick at 27. 

    3. Marshall DE/OLB Vinny Curry. After posting 23 sacks over the last two seasons, Curry put himself on the NFL radar as a rising pass rusher. He measured 6-foot-3 and 266 pounds and is viewed by analysts as a likely second-round pick. Because he didn't play at a big-time college, Curry enters the NFL with a chip on his shoulder. "I like stuff like that. I love being the underdog," he said. "I feel the underdog always works harder, always has something to prove. That’s my personality. I just love to work, I love to get better. I just like the game of football. When you’re in love with this game and you’ve got a passion for it it’s a different mindset." 

    4. South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram. From a body prototype perspective, the 6-foot-1, 264-pound Ingram didn't pass the eye-ball test as someone that would be targeted by the Patriots. In the perfect world, the Patriots like a player with a bit more length, but there is no denying Ingram's pass-rush explosion. He's been working with Broncos DE Von Miller, and like Miller, Ingram said he prides himself on athleticism and relentless approach to get to the ball. "We just try to compete against each other every day," he said. "Obviously, he's the Defensive Rookie of the Year. So I just try to pattern myself after him because I feel like he's had a lot of success in the NFL." Ingram is projected as a top 15 pick by analysts. 

    5. Alabama DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw. A projected first-round pick, likely off the board before the Patriots' first selection at 27, Upshaw is another "tweener" with scheme versatility. "We had a nickel package where I played a 4-3 as the end, away from the tight end, in a 5-technique, hand-on-the-ground, dropping out of a three-point stance in coverage if the D-end had to. So I'm real comfortable with doing that. We played an odd front where I was also an end but three down linemen so I'm real comfortable playing with my hand in the dirt," he said. Bill Belichick's ties with Alabama coach Nick Saban are well documented, so any Crimson Tide prospect warrants a closer look. When a reporter asked about a link to the Patriots, Upshaw pointed out he was a Colts fan (no truth to the rumor that Upshaw was promptly removed from the Patriots' draft board).
     
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    Re: ***2012 Patriots Draft Thread*** MOCK V2 ADDED 2/18!

    Draft brings plenty of pressure

    Posted 18 hours ago

    The Patriots have been in need of pass rushers for quite some time and if they choose to use the draft to find some there are plenty of defensive ends/outside linebackers who could fit into the system nicely.
    INDIANAPOLIS - Ever since veteran stalwarts like Willie McGinestMike VrabelRichard Seymour and Rosevelt Colvin left New England it seems the Patriots have been in need of versatile edge players. Despite this somewhat glaring void, the team hasn't really addressed it much in recent seasons.

    Bill Belichick did tab Florida defensive end Jermaine Cunningham in the second round in 2010, hoping he could make the transition to outside linebacker and provide a presence off the edge. But thus far in his two seasons Cunningham has been either injured or largely ineffective when it comes to creating pressure on the passer.

    The coach also bolstered the area via free agency last summer when he grabbed veterans Andre Carter and Mark Anderson, and he was rewarded when both turned in solid seasons with 10 sacks apiece. But both are free agents now, and Carter is coming off surgery to repair a torn left quad. Having either or both back in the fold for 2012 is far from a certainty (although Carter's agent, Carl Poston, said he believes the Patriots are interested in bringing him back).

    So, that leaves us in an all-too-familiar position when it comes to forecasting the Patriots biggest draft needs. A case could certainly be made for secondary help and Belichick almost always finds defensive backs early in the draft. Wide receiver is another area of need as the team could use a dose a youthful athleticism, not to mention a bona fide deep threat.

    However, it would hard to argue that, as has been the case the past couple of seasons, an edge pass rusher is at the top of the list. Whether the Patriots to dip into those waters in what most experts agree is an average crop remains to be seen. But there are some interesting prospects with varying skills that come into the league with a track record of success getting after the quarterback.

    The problem with many of them is trying to determine exactly how they fit into the Patriots plans. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroffexplained that finding versatile players is becoming increasing important along the front seven because so many teams are trying to use the same personnel regardless of scheme.

    "Everyone in this league is playing for the most part a mix of 3-4 and 4-3and we'll more than likely stick with most of the personnel we do have," Dimitroff said. "[Versatility] definitely does [become more important]. That's the key word. In this league I believe you have to be adaptable and you have to be versatile at a lot of positions across the board. I believe defensively the element of versatility is important when you are acquiring talent - whether it's in the draft or if it's in free agency."

    One such player is South Carolina's Melvin Ingram, who most experts believe will be gone somewhere in the middle of the first round. Ingram is super athletic but stands just 6-1, which is much smaller than Belichick prefers his outside linebackers to be.

    But Ingram also played in a variety of ways for the Gamecocks, starting his collegiate career as a true linebacker before moving up front and playing with his hand in the dirt. So projecting his abilities in pass coverage or outside setting the edge may not be as difficult for Ingram as some others because he actually has evidence doing so on tape for teams to see.

    "I feel like playing so many roles helped me. I feel like my coach gave me the opportunity to show my athletic ability in every way," Ingram said. "I had to play my role on the team. I did whatever the team needed me to do. At that point in time [earlier in my career] it wasn't for me to be a starter."

    Ingram has spent the past several weeks working out with another "undersized" edge rusher, Denver's Von Miller. Miller, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, is working with Ingram to refine his game.

    "We just try to compete against each other every day. Obviously, he's the Defensive Rookie of the Year, so I just try to pattern myself after him because I feel like he's had a lot of success in the NFL," Ingram said. "We're similar athletically so I'm just trying to learn as much as a I can from him."

    Illinois' Whitney Mercilus has the prototypical size (6-4, 265) to success as a Patriots outside linebacker. He opted to leave school a year early and was informed by the draft advisory board that he figured to be a third-round pick. But his stock is rising during the pre-draft process as many teams are apparently smitten by his one monster season with the Illini in 2011 in which he had 16 of his 18 career sacks.

    "I'd say [one-year wonder] is a negative label," Mercilus answered when asked about his big junior campaign. "I was able to put everything together last year and I still feel like I'm learning the game. I think my success was due to hard work and I can't say I'm surprised because I made it happen.

    "There's no fluke to it - 16 is 16."

    Mercilus' breakout campaign is reminiscent of Giants standout Jason Pierre-Paul, who like Mercilus is of Haitian descent. Unlike the one-hit wonder label, Mercilus is fine with comparisons to JPP.

    "Of course," he said. "He's in the NFL making plays for the Giants. I'm thankful for that comparison. I'm trying to improve my techniques, playing the run the better and if I can do those things like he did I'll be pretty excited."

    In addition to Ingram and Mercilus there are several hybrid types that could change positions at the NFL level depending on the scheme. Alabama'sCourtney Upshaw (6-1, 272), Marshall's Vinny Curry (6-3, 265), Oklahoma's Ronnell Lewis (6-2, 244), Troy's Jonathan Massaquoi (6-2, 250) and Boise State's Shea McClellin (6-3, 248) all could be options in the first three rounds for 3-4 teams looking for outside guys.

    Upshaw, who is projected as a first-round pick, appears more suited for the 4-3 with a thick lower body. Curry (possible second-rounder) said he played some 3-4 during his first two seasons with the Thundering Herd but at end, not outside linebacker. He's too small for such a role for the Patriots but could factor in somewhere depending on how Belichick chooses to run his scheme on 2012.

    USC's Nick Perry (6-2, 250), similar to Mercilus, spent the majority of his time playing defensive end in 4-3 sets. But unlike Mercilus, he would prefer to remain up front rather than trying to adapt to a new spot.

    "I prefer playing in a 4-3 with my hand in the dirt," Perry admitted. "But as long as I can get after the quarterback I'm happy."

    In the past a similar description likely would have eliminated a player like Perry from the Patriots consideration, but with the infusion of more 4-3 looks in 2011 and the success of Anderson perhaps he's someone to keep in mind.

    The same could be said of Clemson's Andre Branch (6-4, 260), who showed he did not lack for confidence as soon as he stepped on the podium.

    "I'm versatile, man. I can do it all," he said when asked if he was a 4-3 end or 3-4 linebacker. "I can put my hand down in the dirt, I can stand up, I can drop back in coverage also. It shows in film. We had certain packages where I got back in coverage standing up. I've done it before.

    "I'm a natural pass rusher. I have a job to do and that's to better myself and show NFL teams what I'm capable of doing."

    Virginia's Cam Johnson (6-3, 268), is interesting because of his past experience in a Patriots-style 3-4. He played his first two seasons with the Cavaliers for Al Groh and worked as an outside linebacker before moving to end when Mike London took over as coach. A leg injury hurt his production as a senior but he's still projected with a solid second-round grade.

    Moving further down the draft board there were a few interesting prospects projected to go in the middle rounds. West Virginia's Bruce Irvin (6-3, 245) had tremendous production rushing the passer during his two years in Morgantown - 14 sacks in 2010 and a first-team All-Big East selection in 2011 - and would like the opportunity to do so as an outside linebacker.

    Now he's hoping to show teams he's ready to bring his abilities to the NFL. He's been working out in Orlando with respected conditioning coach Tom Shawand trying to develop some linebacker skills beyond rushing the passer.

    "It's going to be a lot different at the NFL level and I understand that," said Irvin, who admitted he's always played as a down linemen. "I've always been faster than the guys trying to block me, so there will be some techniques that I'm going to need to learn in order to improve."

    Tyrone Crawford, a 6-4, 275-pound 'tweener out of Boise State, said he's done a lot of linebacker drills and will be open to anything teams would like him to do.

    "I've been asked about [playing linebacker], and I've been told to practice some linebacker drills and drops and stuff, because teams may have me do that kind of stuff," Crawford said. "So I've been working on it, working on my drops and my hips and just trying to be the best player I can. I'm open to dropping and stuff, but I just love rushing the passer. So whatever gets me rushing the passer."

    Wake Forest's Kyle Wilber (6-3, 250) is another player with experience playing both spots. He isn't known as a pass rusher but said there's a good reason for that.

    "With our team, the way we did it, it was more 75 percent of the time I was dropping back in coverage," Wilber said. "So hopefully I can show them that during my junior tape it shows me a lot at defensive end, my explosiveness off the edge, how I used my hands, how physical I was with tackles, even with my small size. Hopefully they see I can get the job done.

    "My junior year halfway through the season I was a defensive end, then we switched to a 3-4 defense and they put me at outside linebacker. There are some 4-3 teams that like me at defensive end and some 4-3 teams that like me at SAM linebacker. Then there are 3-4 teams that like me at linebacker."

    Wilber explained how he feels his speed and physical nature will benefit him at linebacker.

    "I think I'll be one physical linebacker and I'm a smart football player. I know everything our defense does, what our corners do, what our safeties do," Wilber said. "I know I'm going to have to keep up with speedy wideouts and cover fast tight ends like [Aaron] Hernandez with the Patriots. I like to know what everybody is doing around me so I can best put myself and other players in the best position."

    There's a lot to choose from, and some different types of skill sets to decipher, but if the Patriots indeed decide to take the plunge there's more than enough talent to go around.






       

     

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