NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
You know you are a draft nerd when you get really excited for Combine Week. If you were to explain to someone who doesn’t follow the draft what the Combine entails, they would almost certainly think you are crazy. I mean, it is kind of funny that we watch with baited breath if some Linebacker or Running Back is going to run under a certain 40 time. We will spend 8 to 12 hours watching guys in spandex run, jump, throw, catch, and block tackling dummies for 4 straight days to to catch a little nugget of new information on each of these prospects. For the diehard draft fan, those hours are time well spent. Today, I thought I would give you a list of one or two guys at each offensive position that I am particularly interested in watching.
Alek Torgersen: As I have stated before, this is a QB class that does very little for me. With that in mind, I am looking for a late round/FA type that will fit into the Patriots scheme and has some traits that can be developed. That is where Torgersen comes in. I think he has a strong arm, quick release, and good footwork and mechanics that can be developed further. What I am looking to see is if he can throw with a little more anticipation and accuracy when he has much better talent to throw to.
Kareem Hunt: I know, I know. I have talked enough about him. I am interested though in his weight and his 40 time. I have heard he has been hand timed at 4.39, which if true, could vault him even higher on everyone’s board. I would like to see his weight up around 215 though, which would be closer to his playing weight in college.
DeVeon Smith: I am luke warm on Smith right now and will be interested to see his numbers from a speed/explosion standpoint. I want him to force me to go back and watch more tape.
Joe Mixon: I know the Patriots will never draft him, but I think he is going to dominate this combine and I am very interested to see how high he goes after he tests so well.
Carlos Henderson, Chad Hansen, Chris Godwin: This is one group where the numbers are very important to me, so I tend to wait on WR until after the Combine. The names I listed are guys who have caught my attention just watching live or scouting other players. I think they each could fit a specific role on the Patriots, but this list will grow after this week. 3-cone is a very important drill to keep an eye on when scouting for guys who fit what the Patriots are looking for.
Adam Shaheen: I did a scouting report on him, but I am very interested to see what his actual size is. I am also looking forward to seeing his 40 time.
Eric Saubert: Another small school guy with good size and hands. I want to see if he looks like he belongs with the bigger school guys. I want to see how he looks physically and how he does in the blocking drills.
Evan Ingram, Bucky Hodges, Gerald Everett: The Patriots never really filled the Aaron Hernandez role after his departure and maybe one of these guys would fill that position. These guys are really only TE’s in name, so I want to see which one of these test out the best across the board. I am particularly interested in Ingram and his weight.
David Njoku: Just from an entertainment perspective, I cannot wait to see what this guy does athletically. A good week at the Combine could catapult him to TE#1.
Ethan Pocic: I really want to see how he moves because at 6’6″, I just don’t think he can stay at Center. If he can show good enough footwork and athleticism, I would be intrigued to see him get a shot at another position along the line.
Zach Banner: Another huge human being that, with a good week of testing, could see a bump in his value. I want to watch his footwork to see if he can stay out at Tackle or if he is going to have to move inside.
Dion Dawkins: In a down class for Tackles teams might try and get creative. I will be interested in seeing what Dawkins weighs in at and his arm length. On the field, I need to see good footwork and quickness. If he can do those things, he could be an interesting option at Tackle.
Dorian Johnson: From watching his tape, Johnson should test well. I just want him to confirm what the tape shows.
Ryan Ramczyk: When looking for a Nate Solder replacement, Ramczyk was the guy who came closest for me. Now, will he test similarly to Solder, that is the question.
Julie’n Davenport: Looks the part of a Patriots Tackle, just want to see him in the drills.
Now, I am sure there are others that you all are very interested in watching at the Combine this week, so let me know who you are looking forward to paying close attention to and why. No matter what, there will be guys not on this that we will be talking about at this time next week, but if you are limited to how much you can watch, this should be a nice guide to get you started.