2012 NFL Draft: Potential Patriots Defensive Backs

Jayron Hosley 2012 NFL Draft (Photo: ICON SMI)

Could Hosley fit the athletic protoype the Patriots look for in a cornerback?

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

Last month, I broke down all 21 defensive backs that the Patriots have drafted in my Drafting Defensive Backs: A Patriots Case Study post. The results were a little surprising: Bill Belichick has some Al Davis in him.

Now that the combine is over, we have a better idea of which defensive backs in this draft class may fit those standards, which seem to rely strongly on workout numbers.

In today’s post I’ll break down those players to see who may be the best fit in New England, and who the Pats might not even bother looking at.

Here is a quick recap of what the Patriots may look for:

-The Patriots seem to prefer shorter DBs. Only four of the 21 players they have chosen have been 5’11” or over, three have been 6’0” or over and only Ras-I Dowling was 6’1”
-Only two players that the Patriots have drafted have had arms less than 30”
-Only two players have had hands less than 8.5”
-Only five players benched less than 13 reps.
-Only four players have ran 4.5+ 40s, and they were all safeties.
-Only five players have a vertical jump less than 36”
-Only two players have a broad jump under 9’11”
-There’s not a major pattern when it comes to the short shuttle, but only three players have had times over 4.21
-Only five players have had 3 cone times seven seconds or greater, and only three have had times over 7.06.
-Only four players have started less than 20 games at the college level.
-Seven players were captains in college, but four of their last five picks were all captains.

Following only those guidelines, here are the players who fit best with the Patriots standards:


Brandon Boykin, Georgia (Scouting Report)
Boykin’s an interesting guy because he didn’t actually participate in any drills during the combine, so he’s essentially an incomplete. We’ll have to wait for his individual pro day before we find out his workout numbers. What he does have though is the right size, arm length, hand size, 38 career starts, he was a captain at Georgia, and he has special teams and offensive versatility. Currently I have Boykin meeting five out of the eleven criteria needed, with the other six being combine workouts he did not participate in due to injury. The Patriots would likely need to use a first round pick to grab Boykin.

Josh Robinson, Central Florida
Robinson pretty much destroyed the combine, and was perhaps the most impressive from a pure workout stand point. He met all of the criteria (height, arm length, hand size, 40 time, bench, vertical, broad jump, 3 cone, short shuttle, college starts, captaincy) other than being a team captain. It’s entirely possible that he could have been a captain his senior year, but he left UCF following his junior year. Robinson would likely have to be taken in the third round by New England.

Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
Sensabaugh is another guy who met ten of the eleven criteria, which means that he had a great combine. The only thing that Sensabaugh doesn’t have going for him, is that he only started 17 games at Clemson. Last season the Patriots drafted Malcolm Williams, who had never started a game at TCU, but before him, the last player drafted by the Patriots to start less than 20 college games was Leonard Myers back in 2001. If the Patriots acquire late round picks, Sensabaugh could be a target in the 5th or 6th rounds.

Shaun Prater, Iowa
Prater’s another incomplete of sorts, as he didn’t participate in the workouts at the combine due to tendinitis in his knee. At Prater’s pro day on March 19th, we’ll see how he performs in 40, 3 cone, etc. He has the right size, arms, hands and college starts to be a Patriot. Prater is a solid slot guy, and could be taken in the third or fourth round.

Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma (Scouting Report)
Fleming got nine of the eleven criteria for a Patriots corner, the only ones missing are his vertical jump was only 34” and he was not a captain at Oklahoma. Fleming had a great showing in combine drills, which matched his performance in college. The Pats would likely need to use a first round pick on Fleming.

Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina (Scouting Report)
Gilmore’s another one who met nine of the eleven critieria. He’s a little tall for a Pats prototype pick at 6’0 ½”, but the Patriots proved last year that they are willing to stray with height. Gilmore was also not a captain at South Carolina. The Pats would need Gilmore to fall to them in the first round.

Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (Scouting Report)
Hosley didn’t participate in the vertical, broad jump, 3 cone or short shuttle at the combine, so we’ll need to wait until his pro day to see those results. He currently matches five of the eleven criteria. Hosley would likely be a second round pick for New England.

Chase Minnifield, Virginia (Scouting Report)
Minnifield is one last guy that we’ll have to wait until his pro day to see how good of a fit he’d be in New England. He only benched seven reps, but he fits the criteria on size, length and college starts. Minnifield would likely have to be a second round target for New England.

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12 Responses to “2012 NFL Draft: Potential Patriots Defensive Backs”

  1. MaineMan says:

    Hmm. Seems to me that most athletic and agile college CBs have been smaller guys. Only seven of the dozens of CBs at this Combine were 6’0″ or better. Bigger guys who showed a similar level of athleticism (plus good instincts/playing abilities) have usually been picked before the Pats have gotten their first crack in the draft. I’m not sure that this demonstrates a “preference smaller guys” any more than it shows a preference for selecting the BPA out of what’s left to them by the time they pick.

    • Jeff says:


      When you have a big physical, fast CB with good hieght and long arms as well as good ball skills, and can play in press or zone coverages…he’s usually gone in the top 10 picks…which the Pats don’t exactly get very often.

      I think Gilmore would be a solid blend of size, strength, athleticism and fundamentals, and if he’s there in the late 1st round, I’d take him without question.

  2. Dan says:

    I would be very happy if they grabbed Gilmore.

  3. Dan says:

    Robinson won’t get out of the 2nd…way too fast

  4. AM says:

    Love Minnifield in the second round–he needs to get a bit stronger, but a year in an NFL conditioning program will do that. He could also swing to safety in a pinch.

  5. Bill says:

    Why doesn’t anyone talk about Markelle Martin, the best safety in pass happy Big 12. Maybe the #2 conference in NCAA. He is fast and tough, and would be a great 2nd round pick.
    I can’t believe that Fleming will be a 1st round pick, but he’d be another good 2nd rounder.
    With Dowling on board, I would not use a 1st round pick on CB. WE need BEEF. Both picks could be DT/DE, although if a good WR dropped to 31, like Wright or Randle, I’d be all over them

  6. Bill says:

    Why does no one talk up Markelle Martin. He was best safety in a very tough pass happy Big 12. I know Todd McShay says he can’t tackle, but the guy is fast and he’s a hitter. I think he’d be a great pick at either 2nd rd picks

  7. dslave says:

    how do we get the draft tracker portion of ne pats draft

  8. dslave says:

    dowling will be a beast if he can stay healthy.His grade was a mid first round going into his senior year.POSITION flexability. I dont think there going high on a corner.3 or their 4th round pick. they may address this in free agency. Safty is a whole different storry. I’m glad barron is hurt , it may drop his immediate value.

  9. td says:

    BB always liked the smaller quicker guys because they were better equiped to read and react quicker in his zone cover concepts.

    I think he went with Ras-I because he was going to start out the season with press cover, but once that failed miserably he went back to more zone coverages.

    Also, if your CB’s are always in press coverage, you need that type of shut down corners that command big money.

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