2013 Senior Bowl: Best Fits for the Patriots

Jonathan Cyprien 2013 NFL Draft

FIU safety Jonathan Cyprien certainly made his mark at the 2013 Senior Bowl. Is he a potential fit for the Patriots?

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The exciting and busy Senior Bowl week wrapped up with the conclusion of yesterday’s game. It’s now time to reflect on the week that was and look at all the players scouted down here in terms of fits for the New England Patriots.  

Over the course of the week it was clear there are many players who could fit what the Patriots need, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Here are 15 players that fit  with the Patriots based on the week in Mobile and the needs of the team.

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA (6’4/280)
Jones would be a great fit on the Patriots young and rebuilt defensive line. He plays with a tremendous blend of power and speed, but he also offers some position versatility. Jones can rush from a 4-3 Defensive End position, combining with Chandler Jones to make a formidable and young pass rush tandem. In certain packages Jones can move inside to 3-Tech and rush from the interior, similar to Jermaine Cunningham did this year. Unlike Cunningham, Jones has an NFL ready body to withstand the physical play both inside and outside the line. During the week Jones displayed very sound technique and formation understanding, with a genuine love for the game coming through in interviews.

2. Kawann Short, DL, Purdue (6’3/308)
Short didn’t have a real flashy week in Mobile, but he certainly didn’t do anything to damage his stock. Out of all the DL here Short is the most versatile, showing the ability to play NT, 3Tech and 5Tech. During the week Short displayed power and penetration from both the NT and the 3Tech. Short can even pack on a few more pounds to play closer to his listed weight off 315. Short came off as very intelligent in interviews, speaking like a leader and making sure to stress he went back to school to graduate, which he did.

3. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (5’11/190)
It’s no secret that the Patriots need a cornerback, so the best one down here is obviously a fit. Trufant put on a consistent display of good coverage and aggressive play. Trufant makes quick reads and breaks out of his peddle quickly. He’s able to recovery well and get his hand on a number of balls. What I like best about Trufant is his ability to play both in the slot and outside, a trait that the Patriots need in a cornerback. Besides his on the field display, Trufant came off as very competitive, focused and intelligent in his interviews. Trufant would be a great fit in the Patriots secondary and give them one more really good cover corner.

4. Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State (5096/193)
McFadden got his week off to a great start displaying good footwork and tight coverage on bigger receivers. After the first two days McFadden pulled out to my dismay. McFadden made a number of plays on the ball and was one of the more
fluid corners in Mobile. His lack of height is a bit of a concern, but he convinced me he can play slot corner, which is an extremely important area of improvement for the Patriots.

5. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State (5’11/183) 
Wheaton would fit in great as the number two or three receiver in New England. He would give them another outside receiving threat and one who can make the big play. Wheaton’s hands, body control and big play ability would add another dimension to the Patriots passing attack. Wheaton can play in the slot as well, making him a tough cover over the middle of the field.

6. Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers (6004/236)
Greene doens’t fit the prototype of what the Patriots usually look for in a linebacker, butu he fits what the Patriots currently need. The lack of coverage ability from the Patriots linebackers hurt them all season and needs to be addressed this off-season. Greene exhibited sound coverage ability against running backs and tight ends this week in Mobile. Besides that he can be a play-maker when attacking the line of scrimmage and playing a downhill style. I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to break down coverages and walk me through plays in talking to him this week. Greene would be a little outside the box for the Patriots, but with the Rutgers connection and the need of the team, I think it’s a fit.

7. Conner Vernon, WR, Duke (6002/193)
Vernon is a Patriots type of player. He isn’t flashy and he isn’t loud, he is just consistent. Vernon was all around solid all week, just like he was during his career at Duke. Vernon is a sound route runner and showcased it during the Senior Bowl game. I was impressed by how much separation he got when coming out of his breaks and working his way back to the ball. Vernon loves to work the middle of the field, running digs, curls and slants. Vernon is probably best suited to play out of the slot and has good size for it. Vernon would give the Patriots another complimentary WR to develop in their system.

8. Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse (6047/301)
Pugh has the ability to play left tackle and right tackle, but worked a lot at guard this week. Long term I like his potential at the position. Pugh measured shorter than expected, but the real let down was his short arms (31.5″). The lack of arm length hasn’t caused him any problems yet (although he did struggle badly in the Senior Bowl game), but I do think it will in the NFL. For a guard Pugh possesses enough athleticism and agility to pull and work well in space. His position versatility and athletic frame fits the mold for what the Patriots look for in an NFL offensive lineman.

Seven more fits for the Patriots on page two.

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32 Responses to “2013 Senior Bowl: Best Fits for the Patriots”

  1. Tom says:

    Much easier to look good on defense than on offense in a college allstar game….that includes looking good in practice too. D line guys overrated and O line guys underrated in these games…. Same with safeties..safeties are guys who lack the ability to catch the ball (or they would be on offense) and lack the ability to cover and jam quick receivers (or they would be corners). Why pick a safety in the first four rounds? C’mon..safety, punter, run stuffing linebacker…you start in the fourth round before looking at these guys. Early rounds…..

    QB, DE, Corner…that’s it….or else you become the Browns.

  2. Jim R says:

    I thought the LB from Florida State Vince Williams really did well. Looked like he was flying all over the place

  3. Stephen S says:

    So many good players so few picks lol

    • mjp says:

      Kawann Short made play after play in the Senior Bowl, besides Ansah and Jones he was the flashiest front-7 player.

      • Stephen S says:

        Yes just before half time Kawann Short Datone Jones and Sylvester Williams were dominating the trenches

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      For sure, alot of talented players who will play on Sundays in the NFL!!

    • Jeff M says:

      Look for the Pats to trade out of the 1st unless someone drops. They have needs at OG, DT, SS, WR, CB and coverage LB and the 2nd-4th rounds of this draft look to be where the sweet spot is with some talent for sure to slip into the 5th as well.

      Knowing Bill he’ll either trade back from the first for a 2nd and 3rd or get a day two pick and future picks.

      • AM says:

        While it’s true that they do have needs at those positions, it’s not quite like the cupboard is bare. The disastrous performance in the AFC Championship game notwithstanding, the roster is still pretty well situated at most positions.

        I think it’s more likely they go the quality over quantity route, which they gravitated towards last season with Jones and Hightower, and use free agency to fill in the gaps as needed. WR is a must, especially with a relatively deep class. A penetrating DT to play alongside Wilfork would be nice, but better pass rush from the DE positions (where Jones, Francis, and Bequette will continue to mature) will diminish that need a bit. A SS would be great, and a hard-hitter there can also fill the need of a coverage LB.

        I say draft best available DB in the first round (or use the third-rounder to bank a late-round pick and trade up to grab Kenny Vaccaro if he somehow slips into the 20s), and take Aaron Dobson at WR in the second. Best available DL in the third if the pick is still held, and developmental gambles with the Day Three picks.

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          The Best Dlineman in the 3d,4th is Evertt Dawkins 6’2″ 285+ runs a 4.86 40. Tape on him shows a quick player, able to run stunts, yet hold his ground well, tackles well, very disruptive. His stock will go up at the Combine as I see his quickness ! For my money he’s as good as the group of DT’s that are picked brfore him.

  4. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    It’s begining to look like the Patriots will trade thier 1st pick , to Cleveland for a 3d,4th and 3d,4th next year. Barring other moves, this would give the Pats in this years draft;
    #59, #68, #91 #101, and two 7th picks.

    The added picks NEXT year are big but, this year leaves the Pats with mid-round players. The Patriots draft board does have a great group of players in this area to draft, that offer great value, but bigger name 1st rounders will be gone.

    • acm says:

      I wouldn’t mind a trade one bit but we really need an extra 2nd and 3rd rounder this year, imo – just too much good talent to be had in the 2nd and 3rd round this year. Who knows if that would be the case in 2014.

      would love a draft that involves D. Jones, Trufant/Poyer, Patton, Cyprien. less flashy linemen like Long and Winters would also be great to get in the mid-rounds, if possible.

      From the projected first round talent, the one player that really tickles my fancy is Ansah – such great upside there, sky is the limit for this guy – but it would take an earlier than 15th pick to even have a chance at him, imo. The rest I am not so high on, which is why I’d actually hope to see that 1st round pick traded.

    • JV says:

      Do you have a link? or is this trade something you came up with?

    • Alex says:

      Ugh, that’s a horrible trade.
      If we only get a third and fourth this year, then I want their first next year.
      No way we’d do that.

    • AM says:

      Two 3rds and two 4ths is a very low return on a first-rounder, even so low in the round. Remember that future picks, outside of first-rounders, are often rated a round lower than they are when assessing value (for teams that use point charts), so this would be the equivalent of a 3rd, two 4ths, and a 5th.

      If the team trades out, I would expect either a 2nd and 3rd, or a 1st next year.

      • Russell Easterbrooks says:

        Any trade needs to look good for both teams. The trade chart gives a number thats all. Next years pick you must determind the teams possible record next year for value. Alot depends on who. Teams are very slow in wanting to give-up a 1st next year, 2d,3d, or 4ths not so much. BB likes to get 7th picks even with a low value, but he feels they are more valueable.
        Also most teams will give up a 2d and a 4th to move up say 15-22 spots into the 1st round. But dislike giveing up a 2d and a 3d to move up
        Teams willing to give up next years choices, are OK with 3d,and 4th’s but not so much for 2d,and 1st’s.
        These are just my observations over the last 30 years.

        • AM says:

          I agree that teams generally don’t like giving up first-rounders, regardless of which year. I also certainly agree that the trade chart just gives numbers–I personally don’t put much stock in it, but a lot of teams use it as a guide (even if they assign their own values).

          But I guess what I meant is that I disagree the trade needs to look good for both teams on a “pound for pound, pick for pick” basis. Most early-round trade outs are almost entirely driven by players and not picks–that is, a team will overpay for a player whom they have rated highly, because they believe that the on-field dividends in the long-run will overcome any short-term deficit in pick value (e.g., Mark Ingram). I think that any team looking for the Patriots’s first-rounder will be looking for a specific player, and the Patriots will only trade out if they have a number of similarly situated players on their board and can be reasonably assured of getting one, or if the “buying” team is willing to overpay. I think the only way they “drop back” all the way to the third round is if there is a huge talent hole on the draft board in the early-to-mid-second round; otherwise, much more likely they will drop back a little ways into the second, even if it means only banking a late-rounder as a sweetener.

          I’ve only got 15 years on the observation front, so I can’t compete there, but just a few thoughts. 🙂

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          I agree, when a team wants a guy they will give more trade value picks than they are worth. Every team targets players, but as BB is mostly picking late in every round, his mind set is on players he can get. Last year he traded up, to get the players he wanted. He also picked S Wilson 3 rounds BEFORE he was projected, as he wanted him.
          So what I’m saying at this very early time in the draft, which teams maybe interested to move up 18-22 spots, and at what cost in picks.
          I think KC will have a hard time trading back. The Bills are the only team I see any interested, but they would want the 1st pick and keep thier 8th pick to get QB Nassib and a great player. So what to give up?? and will KC be able to get the guy they want in the second??

    • Bill says:

      It’s beginning to look like what to who? I think the Pats need to get more impact players and should keep their #1. I would to see them take the best player at ss, cb or DL

  5. Nick says:

    Does anybody know when Cyprien is expected to get drafted?

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      SS -Cyprien is currently projected 4th-5th round, I think a solid early 4th.

    • acm says:

      Cyprien projected 3-4th round before the senior bowl, iirc. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him drafted in the 2nd. I expect him to be taken in the 50-70 pick range.

      • Nick says:

        Thanks. I think it would be awesome if the pats could grab him. I would be happy with this draft if they manage to get him and another pass rushing DE. Cyprien and Mccourty at the safety positions would be great. Both can hit, and both can cover. They could make a very decent tandem for a long time.

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          I’m very impressed with Cyprien, just not sure, much of his tape is against mid-small schools. I do like him, will see.
          I’ve scouted Devonte Holloman at SS for the Patriots, at 6’2″ 230+ runs 46.4 40. This guy is one of the best play diagnosing guy ‘s I have seen. He also played some SPUR LB and is great against the run. Covers TE’s VERY well, but WR , not so good. Uses his smarts, to take good angles , were he lacks speed. Solid tackler. Would be an up grade over Steve Gregory!! BUT not a cover CB ,type safty.

        • acm says:

          I wholeheartedly agree on Holloman but iirc, his weight would project him more as a LB than a safety in the NFL. Big IQ, would make for a great LB imo, MLB or OLB … I hope the pats can draft him or Greene for a coverage LB or why not both it’s not like they can’t use the help 😉

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      Cyprien may go in the 3d, not sure about 2d.

  6. Phil says:

    I want them to trade that first round pick this year. Hopefully snag Cyprien and a WR in the second. And add Sio Moore in the 3rd. Sio Moore is my favorite linebacker in this class actually. I think he shows the best coverage skills out of them all actually.

    • Russell Easterbrooks says:

      If the Pats grab a WR look for WR Conner Vernon in the 4th-5th.

      • qazmlpgh says:

        Or Ryan Swope. One of them can be another piece in Bill’s quest to build an all-white offense!

        Seriously, though, WR has to be addressed. I’d like to see Bill double dip at the position with some of these guys:
        Robert Woods
        DeAndre Hopkins
        Markus Wheaton
        Chris Harper
        Quinton Patton
        Aaron Dobson
        Cobi Hamilton
        Erik Highsmith
        Marcus Davis

        • Russell Easterbrooks says:

          DeAndre Hopkins, is the best I think on your list, but he will be gone early. Patton, and Wheaton are very good.
          Swope and Vernon ar very much the same and better value as a later pick. 4h??

  7. manxman2601 says:

    You’ve got two of my three favourite players there in Wheaton and Mcfadden. I’ve been high on both for quite a while now. Kyle Juszczyk is also an excellent player and a great Pats fit.

    I’d suggest adding Terron Armstead. Still raw as an OT, but he’s arguably the most athletic OT in the draft and if the rumoured 4.7 forty materialises at the combine, the most athletic OT of the last decade. Could see him moving to OG or challenging Cannon at RT if we don’t re-sign Vollmer.

    I think we’ll need that mythical Cleveland #6 if we want Ansah. Outstanding prospect.

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