NEPD Editor: James Christensen
With NCAA Conference Championship games and bowl games coming soon, now is a great time to get acquainted with some potential targets for the New England Patriots in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft.
We’ll be giving you “Potential Patriots” for each bowl game this season, and choosing a few games to add to our scouting notes database.
On to the top prospects for the Patriots in the Big Ten Championship game.
Daimion Stafford (FS, Nebraska) –
Safety play has been in focus all year for the Patriots and even if the move of Devin McCourty is permanent, the Patriots may have a need for depth at the position.
Stafford is a very talented player that hasn’t lived up to his billing so far in 2012. Too many times he has failed to locate the ball in coverage, taken poor angles to the ball carrier, or failed to maintain proper tackling fundamentals.
If he wants to be anything but an afterthought on draft weekend, Stafford needs to start showing some consistency on the field.
Baker Steinkuhler (DT/DE, Nebraska) –
The Patriots love to develop talent at the defensive tackle and have been very effective taking late round draft picks and getting quality snaps out of them – see Kyle Love and Mike Wright to name a couple.
Steinkuhler has under-achieved a bit at Nebraska, but has an NFL body, bloodlines – his father was the #2 overall pick in the 1980’s – and work ethic.
Right now he is little more than a space-eater. If NFL coaches can get his pads down and improve his ability to shed blocks, he could develop into a solid rotational lineman.
Travis Frederick (C/G, Wisconsin) –
The Patriots have survived injuries across the offensive line due to solid depth and OL coach Dante Scarnecchia. Adding some more talented interior linemen is paramount to keeping the offense singing.
Frederick is a talented lineman that projects as a guard at the next level, but has been playing center after teammate Peter Konz declared for the 2012 NFL Draft. He excels on the second level and can really open up holes in the run game. For a guy that measures in at 6’4″ and 335 pounds, his feet are excellent.
As a probable right guard in the NFL, he will warrant a top 60 selection if he chooses to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Other prospects to watch: Will Compton (LB, Nebraska), Ben Cotton (TE, Nebraska), Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin), Ricky Wagner (OT, Wisconsin)