NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones
Much of this year’s 2013 NFL Draft analysis has focused on the draft’s early-round prospects; today, we’ll take a look at some of the late-round options New England may be considering on the offensive side of the ball. The Patriots hold two seventh-round picks (numbers 226 and 235), and will have additional opportunities to add players in undrafted free agency. Trading down in earlier rounds may also afford the club with extra late-round selections.
RB Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook (5’9”, 209, 4.54)
Maysonet is a superproductive small-school back who accelerates quickly, makes efficient cuts, and can gain a few yards after contact. He has a stout build with impressive musculature, providing evidence of his weight-room ethic. Typically, Maysonet was asked to run stretch plays, but he can gain yardage inside as well. If the Patriots want to bring in some competition in the running back corps, Maysonet could be available in the sixth or possibly seventh round.
FB Zach Line, Southern Methodist (6’1”, 232, 4.77)
Line is technically a fullback, but his role in Southern Methodist’s offense was primarily as a rushing option, where he is surprisingly explosive and smooth in his cuts, with a punishing running style. New England has tried to sign quite a few fullbacks geared towards running the ball in the past (Patrick Pass, Heath Evans, Eric Kettani) so a player like Line may appeal to New England, who cut fullback Spencer Larsen early in the free agency process.
WR Ace Sanders, South Carolina* (5’7”, 173, 4.58)
Sanders was considered a mid-round option early in the process, but did not test well, measuring in at just 5’7” and 173 pounds and running the 40-yard dash in a pedestrian 4.58 seconds. However, there is still a lot to like about Sanders’ game: he has excellent change-of-direction skills (6.81 in the cone), and functioned as a dangerous weapon in the slot and as a return specialist. New England is still light on personnel at wide receiver, so Sanders could make sense.
HB Kyler Reed, Nebraska (6’2”, 225, 4.47*)
Reed was underutilized at Nebraska, finishing the season with just 24 catches for 357 yards and two touchdowns, but has an impressive skillset, running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at Nebraska’s Pro Day on March 7th. He also added a 41” vertical leap, a 4.00 short shuttle, and a 6.62 cone drill. He would make sense as a backup to Aaron Hernandez, capable of lining up in the backfield, as an inline player, or in the slot.
TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio St. (6’3”, 252, 4.65)
Stoneburner caught just 16 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns last season, but has the type of frame which translates to the NFL; he measured in at 6’3” and 252 pounds, with a 4.65 time in the 40-yard dash and a 7.12 three-cone drill. Used primarily as a receiver with the Buckeyes, he played under Urban Meyer and is versatile enough to move around on the field. He could realistically project to either the “Y” spot or the “F” spot.
TE Michael Williams, Alabama (6’6”, 278, 5.19*)
Michael Williams clearly isn’t a receiving threat; his movement skills are severely lacking, and he averaged just 7.6 yards per reception over 24 catches in 2012. However, he does offer quality blocking as an inline player, capable of holding his own against defensive ends. New England got above-average play from Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui in 2012, but Williams could offer some salary-cap relief over a player like Fells.
OT Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas (6’5”, 298, 5.07)
Hawkinson isn’t a very powerful player – he recorded just 13 repetitions on the bench at Kansas’ pro day – but he was selected to the 2012 All-Big 12 Second Team by conference coaches and media. The selection concluded a career in which he made 48 straight starts for the Jayhawks, this season’s output coming as a left tackle in Charlie Weis’ offensive scheme. He could challenge a player such as Will Svitek for a spot on the roster.