NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
After researching what the Patriots might look for when drafting for the secondary yesterday, I took a look at all of the defensive backs down at the Senior Bowl this year to see who the Patriots might have been most interested in.
There is no perfect player here, but there are certainly some players that fit the Patriots mold.
**Projected 40 times from nfldraftscout.com
During my research, I found that the Patriots have only drafted four defensive backs since 2000 5’11” or over. Darius Butler was the lightest DB pick at 183 pounds.
Only one DB had arms shorter than 30″, Dexter Reid had the smallest hands at 8.125″ and only four draft picks have had 40 times over 4.5 or over.
Only four picks have had less than 20 career college starts and lately, Belichick has been picking more and more college captains including Patrick Chung, Darius Butler, Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling.
Dwight “Bill” Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette – He’s got the right height and projected speed, but he’d be the lightest Patriots DB they have drafted in the Belichick era. His hands also aren’t as big as the Patriots seem to prefer. Made an impressive 44 starts at Louisiana-Lafayette.
Brandon Boykin, Georgia – On the short side for the Patriots, he’d be the shortest DB since Antwan Harris in 2000. He’s got the right speed, weight, hands, arms and versatility though. It helps that he started 38 games in the SEC and was a captain his senior season.
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska – He’s got the right height, speed, hands and arms. His projected 40 time seems a bit bloated though, I doubt he runs in the 4.4s, and if he doesn’t, he’s out.
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma – His projected 40 time is high for the Patriots standards, but other than that, he’s the Patriots’ kind of player physically. Started a low 24 games compared to his Senior Bowl teammates.
Donnie Fletcher, Boston College – Another player who’s projected 40 time is a little high for New England. At over 6’0”, he’d be on the tall side for a Patriots CB. Fletcher started 30 games for BC and was a captain his senior year.
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt – At 5’11”, he may be a little tall, and he might not have the speed the Patriots are looking for. Made 37 starts in the SEC and was a captain.
Asa Jackson, Cal Poly – He’s got the right height, weight, speed and hands. His arms might be on the small side for a Patriots CB. The Patriots have also never taken a defensive back from a non-FBS school. Started most of his career at Cal Poly with 41 starts and was named a captain his senior year.
Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama – Jenkins has the right speed, size, hands and arm length. He made 47 career starts between Florida and North Alabama. He was not a captain and he would be the first Division 2 DB selected by Belichick.
Leonard Johnson, Iowa State – Short arms might be the only drawback for Johnson. He fits the Patriots from a physical standpoint. 43 career starts helps, but he was not a captain at Iowa State.
D’Anton Lynn, Penn State – Lynn might be a little slow for the Patriots if his projected 40 holds true. He wasn’t a captain and his arms are short at 29 inches.
DeQuan Menzie, Alabama – Menzie is likely not a CB the Patriots would be looking for, his projected 40 time is slow, he only made 20 career starts at Alabama and his arms are short for Patriots standards.
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina – Norman might be a bit tall for the prototype Patriots corner. He also might be a little slow, that is, unless the Patriots decide to use him at safety. At safety, he would fit the Patriots standard more. Of course, as I’ve said before, the Pats have never taken a non-FBS DB.
Ryan Steed, Furman – If Steed can lower his projected 40 time he’d be a great fit physically for the Patriots. He also made 33 career starts and was a captain. He would be the first Patriots FCS defensive back taken.
Check out the safeties that made the cut on page two.