3rd Round, Pick 94: Trumaine Johnson, CB/S, Montana (SCOUTING REPORT)
With a full off-season under his belt at the position, Devin McCourty could be an above-average free safety for the Patriots next year. If he does make that transition, cornerback will again be an area of need for the Patriots.
Johnson excels in zone-coverage, reading the quarterback well and making quick breaks on the ball. With his size (6-2/206) and hitting ability, he could also play some free safety at the next level.
He has a bit of sloppiness in his technique that can be cleaned up, but the athletic ability that he has can’t be taught.
If McCourty stays at cornerback long term, free safety should be high on the list of targets for the Patriots. George Iloka (FS, Boise State) is our favorite prospect at that position.
4th Round: Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa
I would very much like to never see the likes of Antwaun Molden, or to a lesser extent Nate Jones and Philip Adams, line up at cornerback for the Patriots again.
In truth, I’d love to see the Patriots get through 2012 without signing a street free agent to play corner.
Therefore, in addition to Sterling Moore, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling (if healthy), perhaps Devin McCourty, and the just-drafted Trumaine Johnson, I’d like to see the Patriots take another zone-corner Shaun Prater.
Prater has fantastic athleticism, but has been held back by the incredibly rigid Iowa defense. He certainly has the discipline to “do his job”, but could really thrive with being able to play in a more open defense.
He is another zone corner with very good speed. He is also a fantastic performer on the coverage units. He could be a “Big Four” special teams contributor.
With the fifth round pick received from Cincinnati in an earlier trade, we see the Patriots trading back and picking up a few more selections – namely a 6th and 7th round selection.
6th Round: Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama
Smelley is anything but flashy. He is a good blocker and a decent catcher of the ball. He has played in big games before and is said to have good leadership qualities.
He could stick as a 3rd TE if Nate Solder moves to LT/RT full time next year.
7th Round: Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota State
Moss is a very intriguing player, having played basketball for the Jackrabbits for a couple of years before transitioning to football.
He has some good size (6’3/220), but is certainly a raw prospect. If he could be developed on the practice squad for a year, he could become a good contributor.