December 18, 2014

Pats Post-Draft Scenarios: Undrafted Wish List

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Unlike past seasons where NFL teams could seek out undrafted players to fill out their camp rosters, rookie free agents have to sit and wait for the lockout to end.

Below we’ve listed some of those unpicked prospects whom we’d like to see get a shot in Foxboro.

Mark Herzlich, Boston College LB – Unbelievable that no team would spend even a seventh-round pick on this guy. He’s big (6-4, 245) and strong (29 bench reps of 225 pounds) and has been a stalwart on BC’s defense (65 tackles, four interceptions in 2010).

Having beaten cancer, you’d think he’d get a shot on his story alone. But Herzlich’s no pity pick: whatever team he decides to go to will be lucky to have him. Here’s hoping he finds a home at Foxboro this fall.

Jeremy Kelley, Maine WR/ST – Definitely something intriguing about this local athlete, a 6-6, 225-pound receiver who got on the field any way possible, from special teams to pass-rusher. His foot speed (6.60-second 3-cone drill) and suddenness (10-11 broad jump, 42-inch vertical) could get him into an NFL camp. We’d enjoy watching him at Gillette.

Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines OLB – Schiechl gets the Dane Fletcher undrafted nod as the western school defensive end who absolutely killed at his pro day. The 6-2, 252-pound outside linebacker prospect had 38 bench reps and a 35-inch vertical, showing the athleticism that should get him an extra look from scouts.

Jeremy Ross, Cal WR – The Pats drafted his teammate Shane Vereen, and should take a shot at Ross. The receiver has good size at 6-0, 207 pounds, good speed with a 4.45 40, and good special teams prowess, leading Cal in punts. Productive, athletic and smart all have to be worth something, right?

Terrence Holt of Autin Peay

Terrence Holt, Austin Peay RB/RS – We first called Holt’s name in our Superlatives column as the Lil’ Danny Woodhead Award winner. The 5-8, 185-pound pocketknife led the Governors in rushing, receiving and returning. At the very least, that kind of production could make him a versatile addition to New England’s practice squad.

Cedric Thornton, Southern Arkansas DT – Considering the Pats went through defensive linemen last year the way I go through movie popcorn (and believe you me, that’s quick), Thornton (6-3, 310) could bolster the D-line. In eight games last year Thornton had 52 tackles, including 13 for losses.

Jake Kirkpatrick, TCU C – He’s not huge (6-2, 300) nor Herculean (25 bench reps), but Kirkpatrick is consistent. His winning the Rimington Award for the nation’s best college center says all we need to know.

Jeron Johnson, Boise State FS – The 5-10, 212-pound Johnson led Boise State in tackles for the past three years and started 44 games over his Broncos career. Though not the fastest, he put up a respectable 4.5-second 40.

Darrin Walls, Notre Dame CB – Walls had the type of pro day that will get him onto an NFL practice field. Why not New England’s?

He submitted a 4.42 40, a 6.88 3-cone drill, and 10-2 broad jump. With the success of former Irish safety Sergio Brown coming onto the club as a rookie free agent last year, the Patriots must be looking Walls’ way.

Any players whose names went uncalled on draft weekend you’d like to see at Gillette? Please let us know below.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Pats Draft Scenarios: Six For The Sixth

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.

USC's Allen Bradford

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.

Marc Schiechl, Colorado School of Mines DE/OLB: Yes, you read that right. Colorado School of Mines (Go Orediggers!)

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]