November 20, 2017

Patriots Draft Scenarios: In Belichick We Trust, Mostly

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

This season on PD, we’ve shown different scenarios of how we think the Patriots draft will go, and how we want it to go. Now, armed with updated pro day info and a different week’s perspective, we revisit how April 28-30 will go down.

New England has six picks in the first three rounds (say them with me, people: 17, 28, 33, 60, 74, 92) and one pick in each of the following three. The Patriots have selected 24 rookies over the past two years, 17 of whom remain on the roster.

In short, youth has been served; at this point, quality rules over quantity.

A review of the second round of the 2009 draft helps us predict Bill Belichick’s draft tendencies. He traded down for safety Patrick Chung, a potential long-term starter at Foxboro, then fulfilled a defensive line need with Ron Brace.

Belichick later grabbed cornerback Darius Butler, whom many saw as a first-round talent. Finally, he surprised New England fans by taking offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, an under-the-radar prospect who quickly became a starter.

The second round yielded two starters (Chung, Vollmer), one contributor (Brace), and Butler, who may not pan out for the team despite coming in as the highest-rated of the bunch.

Based on that round, let’s predict the Patriots 2011 draft.

FIRST PICK (17 and 33) – Belichick will trade up for the pass rusher he wants here. As much as we’ve been begging for UNC’s Robert Quinn, we can more safely predict that Cal’s Cameron Jordan gets the call.

At 6-4, 285 pounds, Jordan can rush the passer as a down end or contain the run as a 3-4 outside linebacker. That flexibility makes him an every-down player and gives opposing offenses something else to think about.

SECOND PICK (28) – Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin. New England’s O-line needs help and Carimi can provide it, as he was the best on the Badgers’ formidable front in 2010.

In the past we would have liked to see a defensive end drafted here, but Jordan gives the Pats some leeway to improve the other side of the ball.

THIRD PICK (60) – Running back DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma. Here’s where we differ with Coach Belichick. We see plenty of backfield talent available on Day Three, and would seek defensive help here. However, Murray’s speed (4.38 40) and production (school record 6,626 career all-purpose yards) bring him to the Pats in the second round.

While recent pro day results have many looking at Eastern Washington’s Taiwan Jones in this area of the draft (including a 4.33 40 and a 39.5-inch vertical), Jones’ double-digit fumbles over the past two seasons (danger!) will keep him out of a Pats uniform.

FOURTH PICK (74) – Defensive lineman Terrell McClain, South Florida. The word “explosive” gets thrown around in sports the same way “genius” gets used in Hollywood: far too often. Still, McClain’s physical nature fits the description. At 6-2, 295 pounds, he ran a 4.85-second 40, faster than most fullback candidates.

Though we’d look for a taller candidate to fill out the defensive end spot, McClain’s (wait for it…) explosiveness will entice Belichick to draft him here.

FIFTH PICK (92) – receiver Greg Salas, Hawaii. Now, if we were picking, Edmund Gates of Abilene Christian would wind up in Foxboro. Gates has breakneck speed that can open up the field.

Salas lacks that straight-line zip, but he has mid-range quickness and a knack for getting open that Belichick will appreciate, as will a certain someone whose name rhymes with Pom Shady.

SIXTH PICK (125) – Traded for future considerations. Let’s face it: when it comes to Belichick and trades, the man can’t help himself.

So, let’s try that again…

SIXTH PICK (159) – Outside linebacker Bruce Miller, Central Florida. The Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year proved a nightmare for opposing defenses. His size (6-1, 254) will keep him on the board late, but his strength (35 bench reps) and his tenacity (watch him wreak havoc here) will make him a contributor on any 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker convert.

SEVENTH PICK (193) – Offensive lineman Andrew Jackson, Fresno State. The 2009 All-WAC guard spent most of this past season injured, pushing back his status to later on Day Three.

Jackson tossed up 225 pounds 25 times at the combine. Besides having a historical name, he plays for old Belichick pal Pat Hill at Logan Mankins’ alma mater. None of that hurts.

FREE AGENTS – With only seven picks taken in this year’s draft (we hope), the Pats will need some players to round out rookie camp. We offer some prime choices below.

Running back Terrence Holt, Austin Peay. Holt already made our superlatives list as the Danny Woodhead of 2011 (he’s 5-7, 185). We’d like nothing better than for the Pats to give him a shot. The running back/returner did yeoman work for the Governors this past season, leading the team in rushing, receiving and return yards (averaging 23.4 per kickoff).

For confirmation that kick and punt returns can be the most exciting plays in football, watch Holt here.

Tackle David Mims, Virginia Union. He’s about as raw as a fresh egg, but who better to deal with young linemen than Belichick and Coach Dante Scarnecchia? Having size (6-8, 331) and strength (29 bench reps) adds a ton of potential.

Receiver Jeremy Ross, California. Ross led the Golden Bears in punt return yardage and, at 6-0, 209 pounds, qualifies as a bigger wideout in New England (aka Receiver Lilliput). His speed (4.44 40) and – dare I say it – explosiveness ( 39-inch vertical) should get him a look.

If you want a look, see his highlights here.

Defensive tackle Elisha Joseph, Temple. Though he got overlooked in favor of teammate Muhammad Wilkerson, Joseph’s pro day turned heads. He benched 225 pounds 43 times (whoa) and managed to hurl his 295-pound body 28 inches skyward (yeesh). If he goes undrafted, he should get a call from Foxboro.

Cornerback Darrin Walls, Notre Dame. The Pats found success signing Irish safety Sergio Brown last year, so why not return to South Bend for his battery mate? Walls managed a 4.42 40 at his pro day and showed good quickness. He had three interceptions and four pass breakups this past season.

Middle Linebacker Cobrani Mixon, Kent State. New England got their money’s worth out of Kent State alum Julian Edelman; look for them to invite this All-MAC Football first-teamer to camp. The 6-1, 245-pound Mixon ran a 4.68 40 and had 33 bench reps at his pro day. In 2010 he had 82 tackles, including 6.5 sacks.

You can see Mixon’s pass-rushing ability in his highlight reel.

Well, dear readers, any thoughts on this year’s draft – or any players we should be looking out for – please let us know in the comment section below.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]


Pats Draft Scenarios: The Too-Early Mock

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

While trying to guess whom Bill Belichick and Company will select in the last weekend of April, we reviewed recent history and came up with these basic rules for a New England draft.

Rule One: Avoid the flashy guy. Sure, there could be an incredible athlete available right when they’re picking, but the Pats tend to look past the Players of the Week to review each player’s overall career and see how it fits in Foxboro.

Rule Two: Trade down when possible. Relates to Rule One. This will happen, people. Heaven help us, this will happen.

Rule Three: Find a lesser-known player who may have been available later, and draft him. Too harsh? Maybe. While the Pats have a well-earned reputation for finding proverbial diamonds in the rough, for every Julian Edelman there’s at least one George Bussey.

With those three rules in mind, we’ll give this a shot. New England has six picks in the first three rounds (17, 28, 33, 60, 74 and 92 overall). They also have one pick each in rounds four, five and six (numbers to be determined). Ladies and gentlemen fans of Foxboroites, your 2011 Patriots draft…

Gabe Carimi

Just after Pick 17: Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin OT. Yep. Despite needing a dominant pass-rusher more than a waterfall needs gravity, New England will trade down (see Rule Two) for an offensive lineman. A great one, sure – Carimi won the Outland Trophy this past season – but was it the Pats’ offense or defense that had us screaming at the TV in January?

We’d like to see: We at PD have made our hopes clear regarding trading up for pass rusher/athletic freak Robert Quinn of North Carolina (How about San Francisco at number seven, Bill? Think about it). Barring that, defensive end J. J. Watt would fit quite nicely, as would myriad other pass-rushing candidates.

Pick 28: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State DE. Here’s a situation where the Pats look beyond Heyward’s elbow surgery earlier this year that prevented him from participating in the combine. His body of work, his size (6-5, 294) and his status (a captain at OSU) put him on the local radar and bring him to Gillette as a rookie starter.

We’d like to see: Barring a trade up for Quinn, maybe another pass-rushing type like Ryan Kerrigan of Iowa or Justin Houston of Georgia. But we have no problems with picking a defensive lineman, as it fills a need with a productive player. In fact, writing the previous statement makes us wonder if it’s going to happen. We’ll just be quiet now.

Pick 35 or so: Brooks Reed, Arizona OLB. The Pats will trade down again (because they can) and snatch up the best pass rusher available. That looks like Reed, an outside linebacker who – unlike the Pats’ current crop – can get to quarterbacks before they have a chance to set up their proverbial picnic blankets. Reed’s 6-3, 263-pound frame and 30 reps on the bench press should hold up against the run as well, potentially making him an every-down player on defense.

We’d like to see: Nothing against Reed (we heard his name was going to be Rivers but he was smaller than expected. Ha), but we’d address the pass-rushing position in Round One and take Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith here. Smith has good size and excellent speed; he would add a deep threat to New England’s well-stocked wideouts.

Pick 60: Kenrick Ellis, Hampton DT. Not the flashy receiver or running back fans will want, but a big body who can take up space in the middle – or anywhere else along the line. At 6-5, 346, Hampton brings to mind a big body like Ted Washington of the 2003 Patriots.

We’d like to see: It’s hard to mess with this pick, and not only because that dude just got classified as a planet. (Sorry, Mercury!) The more monoliths along the defensive line, the better.

Pick 74: Ronald Johnson, USC WR. He doesn’t have great straightaway speed (4.46 in the 40) nor size (5-11, 199), but Johnson’s experience, big-school production and versatility (second team All Pac-10 punt returner) get him drafted ahead of schedule here.

We’d like to see: Wide receiver Edmund Gates of Abilene Christian. Faster and quicker than Johnson, Gates proved an exciting playmaker at the Division II level. With time – much like what they allowed for Taylor Price this past season – Gates could develop into a reliable receiver.

Pick 92: Delone Carter, Syracuse RB. Due to his stature (5-9), Carter may get compared to Lil’ Danny Woodhead. Some similarities hold true, especially when looking at the quickness of each player (compare Carter’s combine numbers with Woodhead’s 2008 pro day numbers). Though slower in the 40, Carter actually showed quicker times in the 20-yard shuttle and the 3-cone drill. Plus, Carter outweighs Woodhead by 25 pounds. We envision the ol’ coach hearkening back to the days of Joe Morris with this pick.

We’d like to see: Based on pure athleticism, cornerback Buster Skrine (pronounced screen) of Tennessee-Chattanooga warrants a long look here. Though undersized at 5-9, his 40 (4.37), quickness and return skills give Skrine the ability to help the team immediately, both as kick returner and defensive back in a dime (six-DB) package.

Round Four: Cortez Allen, Citadel CB. Ever heard of him? Nope? Exactly. Our nod to Rule Three comes in the form of a solid athlete who attended a military-style academy. Allen made second-team all conference and led the Bulldogs with five pass breakups. He has good size (6-1, 197) and quickness (4.1 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle) and seems like the type of guy about whom the Pats’ scouts would have enough inside info to warrant a selection.

We’d like to see: As we’ve said before, Hawaii running back Alex Green seems to fit the Patriots. As part of the Warriors’ pass-oriented offense, Green still gained over 1,000 yards this past season. His combine 40 (4.45) belies his size (6-0, 225). If the Pats decide to wait until the middle rounds, they can get some heft and speed for their backfield here.

Round Five: David Arkin, Missouri State OG. The Pats have taken offensive linemen recently in this area of the draft. This off-season has given them no reason to stop such a trend, as Stephen Neal has retired and Logan Mankins has made his contract dissatisfaction clear. Arkin earned All Missouri Valley Football Conference honors for every one of his four years at college. That’ll work.

Also, while Arkin attended Missouri State, Pats guard Dan Connolly went to Southeast Missouri State. So… that’s something. Right?

We’d like to see: If he’s still available, this looks like a great spot for linebacker Mark Herzlich of BC. A heady player with strength, Herzlich has been a great leader for the Eagles and could contribute right away on special teams.

Round Six: T. J. Yates, North Carolina QB. The Pats pick up another dependable, productive QB from a solid system who will make a dependable, solid backup. (I mean, when you have Tom Brady, who wants to see anyone else under center?) Yates (6-3, 219) holds both the career and single-season passing records at UNC. When New England trades him for a second-rounder in a few years, we shall all nod with the understanding that this was part of the plan.

We’d like to see: Something about quarterback Josh Portis of California-PA intrigues us here at PD. He showed his ability to run (4.59 combine 40), yet he passed for over 6,000 yards in his two-year career. Maybe we’re just hearkening back to the days of Michael Bishop at backup QB, but it would really mess with opposing defenses to have someone like Portis take a snap once in a while.

Thoughts? Opinions? Martha Stewart crafts? Please post any or all of them below.

Email Chris Warner at ch[email protected]


Pats Draft Scenarios: Day One

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

We miss the good old days of the NFL draft weekend, spending Saturday and Sunday sitting on the couch, blogging, eating pizza and sipping diet Dr. Pepper.

(Sorry, ladies: I’m married.)

Over the next few days, we’ll be posting our thoughts on what New England might do on each draft day of the new, ratings-improved, three-day format beginning Thursday, April 28 with Round One. (Friday night will feature Rounds Two and Three; Saturday afternoon has Rounds Four through Seven – and no, I don’t know why I’m putting rounds in capital letters.)

Every year, it seems, Bill Belichick gets his team in prime position heading into draft weekend. And every year, it seems, he trades down to get his team in prime position for next year.

You’d think at this point that it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Due to such finagling of picks past, New England finds itself with two selections on Day One (17, 28). This gives them some serious bartering power. We’ll see if they use it.

SCENARIO ONE: The Big Kahuna

As mentioned in a previous PD piece, Coach Belichick could trade up for a top pick such as Robert Quinn of North Carolina. Despite some off-field issues (health questions and a suspension this fall), the pass-rusher helped himself during the NFL combine. His speed numbers (4.62-second 40) fit a running back, much less a 6-foot-4, 265-pound college defensive end.

Sure, there’s risk involved (What if he can’t stay healthy? What if he’s a jerk? What if he reads a headline that says “The Mighty Quinn” for the 7,000th time and loses it?). But for the past few years, New England’s defense has been like a drummer, bassist and piano player doing jazz: okay in general, but you need some sax.

Cal's Cameron Jordan

Sorry. It’s been a long winter.

Other looks: Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, Cal DE Cameron Jordan and Alabama DT Marcell Dareus would each merit a trade up. All have the potential to start right away in New England’s defense.

If the Pats make a move for anyone other than a front seven defender, get me a throat lozenge because I’ll be screaming myself hoarse.

SCENARIO TWO: The Blue Chippers

With the depth in this draft at outside linebacker and defensive end, the Patriots should improve themselves by the end of round one.

At outside linebacker, we like Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue, Adrian Clayborn of Iowa and Justin Houston of Georgia. All can get after the QB, and all showed the quickness necessary to drop back into coverage. While Missouri’s Aldon Smith had an impressive combine, the sophomore’s lack of experience scares me off.

Defensive ends include Wisconsin’s J. J. Watt and Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward. When healthy, Heyward has changed games. Of course, “when healthy” is the Mephistopheles of introductory clauses, promising great things but always leading you astray.

Other looks: New England needs help on the offensive line. The one athlete who really pops out is tackle Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin. Watching him take on Clayborn in this highlight reel shows his agility and strength. He makes a top-ranked pass rusher look about as relevant as a tailor at a nudist colony. Mike Pouncey out of Florida could help the O-line as well.

So, Mr. Belichick, no specialists. No receiver (A. J. Green of Georgia), no running backs (Mikel Leshoure of Illinois, Mark Ingram of Alabama). Plenty of guys to look at on Days Two and Three.

Deal? Deal.

SCENARIO THREE: The Contributors (aka The Fans’ Nightmare)

Hey, it could happen. Maybe the coach will be too busy to consult PD on draft day and he’ll fail to heed our advice. In that case, he’ll trade down and get some less flashy players who will help the team – just not as much as we’d hoped.

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson of Temple, cornerback Jimmy Smith of Colorado and linebacker Martez Wilson of Illinois all fit that description for me. Each seems able to get onto the field and help the team out; none seems like an immediate game-changer in New England.

Coming up: Day Two possibilities, including wide receivers and running backs.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Pats Draft Scenarios: A Primer

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Well people, it is time. Despite the beginning of spring training, despite the Patriots’ inglorious playoff exit, it is time to take interest in the draft this year.

After numerous misleading headlines courtesy of The Bleacher Report (to me, potentially letting go of Nick Kaczur doesn’t warrant the alarm of “Pats To Release Stud Lineman?”), we need to take matters into our own hands here at PD.

Robert Quinn

The draft is like art, where works appreciate – or don’t – over the years. That unknown pick could, like Julian Edelman, turn out as a contributor or, like George Bussey, end up on the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.

Though I’ve done little to keep up with this year’s potential selections, a recent bit on ESPN piqued my interest. (Not that the Entirely Self-Promotional Network needs the plug, but they deserve some credit here.) In light of one of their scenarios, I give you three possible outcomes of draft day…

SCENARIO ONE: This is my favorite, proposed on the aforementioned network. The Patriots trade their first three picks for a top five pass-rusher like North Carolina’s Robert Quinn. They need a pass rush. They have needed a pass rush. If they don’t make a big splash at that position, they will still need a pass rush and we will watch Quinn tear it up for another team and think how great he would have looked with a Flying Elvis on his head.

Good: You have to like New England’s record with early first-rounders. Plus, it would be awesome as a fan to watch opposing QBs actually have to hurry instead of sitting down for tea before completing a pass.

Bad: Vernon Gholston looked awesome. He now has the same NFL occupation I do: watching. A harrowing account of his non-career cited here.

SCENARIO TWO: Stay put. Probably not going to happen. On draft day, Bill Belichick moves around like an electron. The Pats picking at 17, 28 and 33 seems about as likely as Rex Ryan getting hired as a spokesman for Dr. Scholl’s. (What? It’s been a while.) Still, three picks out of the first 33 could infuse the team with some top-end talent at the necessary spots.

Good: That “top-end talent” comment pretty much says it all.

Bad: No one’s saying the Patriots are untalented. If they need certain, special players at certain positions, isn’t now the time to go get them?

SCENARIO THREE: Same old, same old. Move around the board picking up some solid players, while trading down to get picks for the future. If this happens, you’ll hear similar language in our household to what was said during New England’s last game.

Good: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Pat Chung. All three players and many other high-end contributors came to the Patriots in this same scenario.

Bad: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Pat Chung. The youth has arrived. Why trade for the future if the future is now? The Patriots have picked 24 rookies in the past two drafts. Including undrafted free agents, they had 23 players on the 2010 roster with less than two years of experience.

New England has nine draft picks. If they end up with that many drafted rookies in camp, how many of them are the Patriots just grooming for another team once they cut down their roster? Here’s my stand: time to move up and, with six picks in the first three rounds, get two or three high-impact players who can start right away.

It’s the draft, people. This time of year, everyone can be right. Give me your right answer below.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]





College Scout – Defensive Linemen

By Greg Doyle, Patriots Daily Staff

A pretty good crop of defensive linemen will be in the draft next year and, really, its even deeper than what is listed out here. The guys at 11-20 really probably aren’t that far off from the guys ranked 5-10 here. The Patriots may very well be looking in this area high with Ty and Gerard Warren end players who are both getting up in age and Ty Warren injured. We do not include pure 3-4 outside linebackers in these rankings and will have a separate list in future weeks for guys who project more obviously at that position in the Patriots system.

Is UNC DL Marvin Austin A Potential Fit For The Patriots?

1.) Marvin Austin (#9), North Carolina: A native of Washington, D.C., Austin is a dominating defensive tackle who would project to defensive end in the Patriots 3-4. He checks in at 6’4″ 310 and is very strong, yet quick. As a senior in high school Austin was named National Defensive Player of the Year by and was perhaps the most highly recruited player in the nation. Last year, Austin racked up 42 tackles and 4 sacks for the Tarheels. Before this season even began, Austin became embroiled in controversy that centered around his allegedly receiving benefits from an agent and academic cheating. He has not played a game this season. There are obviously character questions with Austin, but as of late he’s been cooperating with all investigations and there is a chance he may be allowed to play some later this season. Even if he doesn’t, he is that good he should still be ranked #1 and will certainly be a top 5 pick at the very least. He’d fit perfectly with the Patriots if he can convince them he’s a good character.

2.) Jared Crick (#94), Nebraska: Crick has a year of eligibility left, but is a senior academically because of a redshirt season. Crick was overshadowed last season by fellow Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who went #2 in the draft last season. But that is a mistake as Crick is almost as talented and has put together a great college career himself. A excellent pass rusher, Crick may be a bit light for the Patriots scheme at 285 lbs. But he has proven himself without Suh next to him, putting up excellent stats again this year on Nebraska’s very good defense. He should make some team happy and be an excellent NFL player.

3.) Cameron Heyward (#97), Ohio State: The son of former NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Cameron could surpass his dad’s solid NFL career if he lives up to his potential. Sadly, Cameron’s dad died several years back from a brain tumor. Heyward came into this season with 12 career sacks and is known as a very good pass rusher. He only has a half sack so far this year, but teams do focus on trying to contain him. He could be more dangerous in the NFL where teams may be able to focus on him less. While its uncertain if he has the size to play with the Patriots, its close. He comes in a 288 with a frame for more. He’d play end in a 3-4 and will undoubtedly be a first round pick.

4.) Marcel Darius (#57), Alabama: Whenever there is a player from Alabama, particularly on defense, as a draftable prospect its worth mentioning the Nick Saban – Bill Belichick connection. Saban, Alabama’s head coach, is of course a former Belichick assistant and close friend. They play similar defensive systems. This year, the Patriots took Brandon Deaderick, another defensive lineman, from Alabama in the draft and it appears he has some potential to be a good fit and player with the Patriots. At 6’4″ 306 lbs. Dareus is a perfect fit for the Patriots system. Only a Junior, there is a decent chance he comes out this year as he too has run afoul of a NCAA investigation and has already served a two game suspension this season. As a player, he is stout versus the run, a good pass rusher and has shown some versatility to play inside at nose. He’s been fighting an ankle sprain since coming back from suspension and has shown toughness in that regard. You can watch him today versus South Carolina on CBS at 3:30 PM EST>

5.) Robert Quinn (#42), North Carolina: Quinn is one of the top defensive lineman pass rushers in the draft. He is 270 lbs. and a pure playmaker on defense. There is some school of thought he could convert to an outside linebacker in a 3-4, but is probably better off down in a 4-3. He is an excellent athlete with good speed who’ll make certainly cause problems for NFL teams trying to deal with his pass rushing.

6.) Drake Nevis (#92), LSU: Its difficult to decide if Nevis would fit with the Patriots or not. He is very, very strong and stout versus the run. But he is an inside player, where the Patriots have Vince Wilfork, and only 6’1 305 which is a bit small for a nose tackle. Its questionable whether he has the quickness to play outside at end in a 3-4. A disruptor inside, he’s probably better off causing havoc inside at tackle in a 4-3 where many NFL guards will have trouble dealing with his pure strength, relentlessness and quickness in small areas. Watch him tonight versus Florida at 7:30 PM EST on ESPN

7.) Greg Romeus (#91), Pittsburgh: Romeus is a 270 lb. talented defensive end/pass rusher who has been out for a month with a back injury recovering from back surgery. Reportedly he’s getting close to returning and should play again this season. The Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year last year, Romeus really can get after the quarterback and is one of those relentless, hard charging defensive edge players who can cause sacks and strips of the ball. Last year, he racked up 8 sacks. He is also a fine athlete with the speed and athletic ability to drop into coverage and play pass defense. If he recovers well from his surgery, he has a solid shot at being a first round choice.

8.) Adrian Clayborn (#94), Iowa: Clayborn also has a connection to Bill Belichick thru his coach, Kirk Ferentz, who was also a former assistant. Clayborn is a 285 lb. defensive end who has the frame to put on more. He can definitely play in a 2-gap system and should be a Patriots target of interest this draft. Clayborn also is a very accomplished pass rusher and may be that rare player who can play the Patriots 2-gap run defense system, but also has the ability to rush the passer. He is coming off Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week honors this week after a fine performance last weekend versus Penn State where Clayborn dominated the Nittany Lions all day with 10 tackles, 3 for losses and a sack. Penn State scored 3 points in a 24-3 loss. They were held to 54 yards rushing and Clayborn had a major part in that as well. Next weekend you can see if he can deal with the Denard Robinson sensation with Michigan in a 3:30 PM EST game on ABC.

9.) Marcus Forston (#99), Miami: Forston is a 6’3″ 310 lb. academic Junior who may come out after a great year, so far, this season. He is a stout run defender who is very strong and would fit the Patriots system. He also has such power, he does get to the QB right up the middle. So far this year through 4 games, Forston has racked up 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He may need another year in school as he sat out all of 2009 with an ankle injury and redshirted. So, really, this is his first season starting as he was a key reserve as a freshman. Another year in school and Forston has the potential to come back next season as perhaps the highest rated defensive lineman in college. But, if he does come out this year, with his talent certainly some team will draft this 20 year old relatively high. And it may just become a steal as he is headed upwards.

10.) Allen Bailey (#57), Miami: Bailey is another Miami lineman and more polished player, but he plays outside at end. He is stout, but more of a penetrating, edge type player. He can get to the QB and had 7 sacks last season. While he does have the natural ability and strength to convert to the Patriots system at 288 lbs., it would take some coaching and he have to harness his attack mentality. Vince Wilfork converted, however, albeit from the inside. Watch him and Forston take on Florida State tonight in an outstanding rivalry game on ABC at 8PM EST.