by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
Maybe you have a draft-eligible player in mind right now staying under the radar. And maybe you feel a connection with that guy, kind of like how you felt about that band you discovered before their hit single.
Six months from now you’ll be saying, “You know, I always liked that guy.”
Coach Bill Belichick and his staff have had some success drafting in the sixth round and later. Looking over the indispensable timewaster – a draft history on patriots.com – we see quite a few late-round standouts over the past 11 years.
These include seventh-rounders Patrick Pass (2000), David Givens (2002), Tully Banta-Cain (2003), Matt Cassel (2005), Julian Edelman (2009) and Brandon Deaderick (2010).
Sixth-rounders Myron Pryor (2009) and a Certain Special Quarterback (2000) prove that Patriots fans should pay attention to any late Day Three picks on Saturday, April 23.
With past success in mind, we’ve found some potential picks worth a look for New England’s sixth-rounder, number 193 overall.
Aldrick Robinson, SMU WR: Teams may overlook Robinson for his smallish size (5-10, 184), but they’ll find it difficult to ignore his speed (4.35-second 40) and athleticism (40-inch vertical, 6.65-second 3-cone drill). Plus, the dude had 1,301 receiving yards in 2010.
I don’t care if you’re in Conference USA or a community flag football team, that’s an impressive stat.
Allen Bradford, USC RB: Having failed to follow Southern Cal for the whole season, Bradford’s past year mystifies me. He led the Trojans with 7.2 yards per carry, but didn’t get the ball as much as junior Marc Tyler. Coach Lane Kiffin never stated a specific reason that Bradford, a senior, didn’t start more.
Meh, the mysteries of life. Here’s what we do know: 5-11, 242, a 4.53 40 and 28 bench reps. If Bradford remains available in the sixth round and New England doesn’t nab him, they must know more than I do.
I suppose that’s a given, but whatever.
Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M QB: A guilty pleasure here, as Johnson’s size (6-5, 250) and arm strength have me intrigued. He set several passing records at A&M, which seems akin to setting decibel records in a library, but as a junior he did throw his first 225 passes without an interception.
Maurice Hurt, Florida OL: Two things help the guard’s chances to make it to New England: one, Coach Belichick has a long-standing relationship with the Florida program; two, Hurt played all along the Gators’ line this past season.
While Hurt probably won’t be drafted, I could have said the same thing about Cassel or Edelman or Givens. The Patriots need O-line help; Hurt’s the kind of guy they could bring in with a late pick.
Plus, think of the headline possibilities: “Pats Need To Play Hurt.” I mean, come on.
We know that New England always has their eye on defensive end converts, from the drafting of SMU defensive end Justin Rogers as a sixth-rounder in 2006 to taking on Dane Fletcher as an undrafted free agent last year.
Below are two of similar types of players to consider.
Gabe Miller, Oregon State DE/OLB: We mentioned Miller in our pro day standouts piece in March and think he’s worth another take. The 6-3, 250-pound pass rusher ran a 4.62 40 and timed at 6.97 seconds in the 3-cone drill. Considering he switched from tight end to defensive end his junior year, Miller’s got an upside like a mountain.
Schiechl measures 6-2, 252 and ran a 4.65 40. He also benched 225 pounds 38 times (that’s right: 30 plus eight) and had a 35-inch vertical. Who knows where the career sacks record-holder in Division II will end up, but it looks like he can put that mining-related job on hold for a little while.
You can email Chris Warner at [email protected]