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.