What Do New England’s Pre-Draft Meetings Suggest?

New England has met with Robert Woods on multiple occasions. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

The New England Patriots are a notoriously opaque organization, including in their preparation for the NFL Draft; however, like the rest of the league’s teams, some pre-draft information becomes available from time to time, whether released voluntarily by the team, an agent, or a prospect, or released in compliance with league rules. While it’s important to consider the source of the release and their possible motivations (i.e. released voluntarily as a smokescreen from the organization itself), as well as that many interviews and visits are investigatory rather than indicative of definite interest in drafting a prospect, nonetheless pre-draft visits offer compelling food for thought. Today, we’ll take a look at the early-round prospects which New England has been linked to thus far in the pre-draft process. As always, prospect rankings and values are provided by FRX.

WIDE RECEIVER:

Tavon Austin (West Virginia) – Official Visit

FRX: #19 overall prospect, $1,655

Stedman Bailey (West Virginia)* – Official Visit

FRX: #82 overall prospect, $536

DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson)* – Combine Interview

FRX: #27 overall prospect, $1,186

Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee)* – Combine Interview

FRX: #16 overall prospect, $1,756

Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech) – Combine Interview

FRX: #52 overall prospect, $746

Markus Wheaton (Oregon St.) – Official Visit

FRX: #65 overall prospect, $622

Robert Woods (Southern California*) – Official Visit, Combine Interview

FRX: #44 overall prospect, $843

Notes: New England has shown interest in almost every top receiver prospect in the 2013 Draft, suggesting definite interest in adding to their wide receiver corps via the draft. While it’s unlikely that New England will have an opportunity to draft either Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson, they will likely have the option of drafting all of the other wide receivers at some point. DeAndre Hopkins and Robert Woods could be selected in the first round of this month’s draft, but the best fits for New England may be Stedman Bailey (second round), Quinton Patton (first or second round), and Markus Wheaton (second round.)

OFFENSIVE TACKLE:

D.J. Fluker (Alabama)* – Official Visit

FRX: #22 overall prospect, $1,373

Justin Pugh (Syracuse)* – Combine Interview

FRX: #57 overall prospect, $670

Notes: After re-signing right tackle Sebastian Vollmer to a four-year contract, New England appears unlikely to draft D.J. Fluker unless they envision him as a right guard. However, even if they do believe that Fluker is worth drafting at the end of the first round, they may not have a chance to do so, as he has been linked to teams as high as the Miami Dolphins, who hold the number twelve overall pick. Justin Pugh may be a more likely option as a short-armed collegiate left tackle who may be best suited to guard at the next level. Some analysts have projected Pugh as a first-round pick, but he would represent a much better value in the second round, which is also a possibility.

DEFENSIVE END:

Cornellius Carradine (Florida St.) – Official Visit

FRX: 34 overall prospect, $1,032

Dion Jordan (Oregon) – Official Visit

FRX: #5 overall prospect, $3,080

Corey Lemonier (Auburn)* – Combine Interview

FRX: #70 overall prospect, $595

Notes: New England had Oregon defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan in for an official visit, but there is virtually no chance that the Patriots will be able to land him in the draft; Jordan is a likely top ten pick who could be selected as high as number two overall (Jacksonville.) Carradine makes a lot of sense as a left end in New England’s defense, while Lemonier’s incredible physique and athleticism could interest the Patriots in the second round. Both of the aforementioned players have the height and bulk to satisfy New England’s size preferences at the defensive end position.

LINEBACKER:

Alec Ogletree (Georgia)* – Official Visit

FRX: #21 overall prospect, $1,486

Notes: Ogletree is a rangy, versatile linebacker and forceful tackler who would dramatically improve New England’s sub-package performance; he could potentially succeed Brandon Spikes at middle linebacker should the Patriots opt to go in another direction once Spikes’ contract expires following the the 2013 season. Ogletree has some serious character concerns which must be investigated further, but it would nonetheless come as a surprise if he made it out of the first round. He could go in the top twenty picks this month; Chicago could be interested in acquiring him as a successor to Brian Urlacher.

CORNERBACK:

Johnthan Banks (Mississippi St.) – Pro Day

FRX: #40 overall prospect, $988

Jordan Poyer (Oregon St.) – Combine Interview

FRX: #56 overall prospect, $671

Jamar Taylor (Boise St.) – Official Visit

FRX: #48 overall prospect, $791

Desmond Trufant (Washington) – Official Visit

FRX: #20 overall prospect, $1,564

Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Connecticut) – Pro Day

FRX: #72 overall prospect, $580

Notes: All four of the above prospects should go in the first two rounds of the draft; Trufant is the most athletic of the group, but will likely be selected before New England is on the clock. Johnthan Banks is considered a first or second-round pick, although, due to the value they place on workout numbers, the Patriots may shy away from drafting him after his poor showing at the NFL Combine. Blidi Wreh-Wilson could go in either the first or second round; he has one of the most attractive combinations of size, intelligence, versatility, and athleticism in the class. Bill Belichick was personally in attendance for his pro day workout, and could very well be considering him as high as the first round. Poyer is not one of the most explosive cornerbacks, but is highly intelligent and highly competitive; his reaction times stand out on tape as well. Look for him to be selected at some point in the second round. New England recently scheduled a visit with Taylor, whose impressive workouts should earn him a spot in the first or second round.

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, New England Patriots, Pre-Draft Meetings

24 Responses to “What Do New England’s Pre-Draft Meetings Suggest?”

  1. Jim R says:

    Keenan Allen ran a 4.7 40 there is you WR slider

  2. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    I’m projecting the WR Emmanuel Sanders deal is dead, after signing Tom Kelly to a two yr deal, I’m guessing but think, 3.5 mil. With the signing of draft picks still ahead, I think the cap space is too small to make a run for Sanders.

    • acm says:

      just yesterday you had it for done :)

      let’s see what the Kelly deal details are. Given his age and likely lack of suitors, I doubt it’s a substantial contract in both max and guaranteed money. And considering it’s a 2 year deal, it’s likely structured in a way that would allow for a minimal cap charge in the 1st year too.

      I’d be very surprised, shocked is the word actually, if the Kelly deal decides whether we get Sanders or not. I still think getting Sanders would be very difficult but for other reasons … like the pats not willing to go overboard for him on that sheet and the steelers being able to generate more cap room then they give the impression to.

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        I just feel today it’s dead, you make good points about the possible contract for Kelly, but I feel Sanders cost given what we spent on Kelly and what the draft class contracts will be, is just to much. I also feel we end-up with more picks than five, which will increase the contract cost’s of the rookies as well as any free agents after the draft Bill whats to sign. Sanders would cost about 6.5 mil + for 3yrs .

  3. J H TARBORO says:

    I hope BB dangles the Mallett carrot in 2wks. too good of a defensive draft not to have a few more picks, and some teams have more picks than funds.

    • Jim R says:

      I agree, They should be able to get at least another 3rd rd. pick. I think BB will be trading down a lot in this draft.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      I also agree, I think BB likes QB Kafka better, as a future guy. Look for a deal with Tampa, which may include our 1st pick, if Bill does not think he can get DT Jesse Williams.

  4. J H TARBORO says:

    Looking at other teams needs, somehow we are under the illusion that the top receivers such as Tavon Austin and Cordarrell Patterson won’t be there, but those are smoke screens and we are looking at too many mock drafts. Some teams have major needs that they need to adress and receiver is not one of them. I’veI seen Carolina,Minnesota,St Louis, and Houston all projected for these 2 receivers, don’t be fooled.Most teams will target the large receivers first and system fits and some teams just don’t have the money and resorces.

  5. Bill says:

    The Kelley signing kind of seals the DT position, which must have been a high priority. Now they should get their WR in round 1 and be done with it, and let the 2nd and 3rd round picks be value picks.

    • jim r says:

      Not necessarily, It just gives them depth and a little flexibility for next year I still think a big boy DE or DT gets taken first. I dont think WR will be addressed until round 3 or later

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        I agree Kelly is in his 30′s, and will add depth, still need youth at DT.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      If the Emmanuel Sanders deal happens then WR is set.

    • cc says:

      Seal what deal? What, so this is the cure all for it still being Vince Wilfork alongside a bunch of waste. Vince Wilfork working alongside a handfull of real DT/NT/DLineman’s second cousins wish we had some stuff? but don’t, but don’t worry Bill Belichick will take us so we can work beside the only D Lineman worth a crap in a Patriot uniform for the past 9 years!

  6. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    The Patriots today signed Tom Kelly 6’6″ 235 DT released by the Raiders.

  7. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    The Patriots also met with; TE Travis Kelce, OT Luke Marquardt, DT Jared Smith, RB Derrick Washington.

  8. manxman2601 says:

    Whilst draft contacts don’t necessarily tell you who they’re selecting, they almost always tell you which position they’re looking at and in roughly which round. For example, in the last three years they contacted heavily at DE last year, 1st round OT in 2011 and RBs at every level and 1-2 round CBs and most top level TEs in 2010 (also had contact with a lot of DEs and MLBs that year). The only early round pick not telegraphed by draft contacts was Dont’a Hightower.

    So unless there’s a sudden flurry of DT visits, don’t expect one to be drafted early unless it’s from a team they can get good information from (Jesse Williams/Jonathan Hankins).

    • AM says:

      Good point. If that’s the case, it leans towards WR and CB this year; certainly two areas of need.

    • jim r says:

      If its Jesse williams I’m buying

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        I like Jesse Williams also, question is will he be there at #29? Or will Bill trade back and take DT Brandon Williams, 2nd round?

      • Nick says:

        Why does everybody love Williams? I get that hes great against the run but his pass rush is sub-par. If you want a pass rushing DT, hope for Sheldon Richardson or something. Williams is a lot like Wilfork. He will eat up blockers, but not much pass rush upside.

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          Agreed but Richardson will not be on the draft board when the Patriots pick at #29



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