With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Do you trust Shawn Springs? What about Jonathan Wilhite? How about Terrence Wheatley? Darius Butler? Leigh Bodden is the only CB on the team that I trust as a full time starter. Butler is gaining my trust, but he's still not a proven commodity. While our secondary was burned last year because of a weak pass rush, it wouldn't disappoint me if we tried to improve our defensive back core through this draft. Oklahoma CB Dominique Franks is a potential second round CB that could be a starter on our defense. He's tall, strong, fast cover corner who can moonlight as a return man. His versatility as a return man and a cornerback is something the Patriots won't overlook and the fact that he has the size to play safety in emergency situations and in the red zone means he won't be able to add depth to every position in the secondary. Is he the type of player we'd want in the second round?
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 5-11. Weight: 194.
Projected 40 Time: 4.46.
Combine 40 Time: 4.52.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.47.
03/19/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT CORNERBACKS: *Dominique Franks, Oklahoma, 5-11, 194, 2: His ability to read and react to plays in front of him makes Franks a candidate for a team seeking a good zone or off-man coverage corner. He has long arms and strong hands that help when he closes on plays, but overall he is not a physical player. When Franks declared for the draft as an underclassman, he stated that he is able to "shut down one side of the field," which says more for his confidence than the reality of his ability. Last season, he had 47 tackles and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He flashes athleticism as a returner but seems to lack vision in finding the best place to run. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY
Franks has been an outstanding secondary defender for the Sooners over the past two seasons after redshirting in 2006 and playing in sub packages in 2007. Franks has an excellent combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. He doesn’t attack the run with consistency and should be more physical given his dimensions. Franks is an outspoken, confident defender that will challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage. Franks is a natural athlete with the speed, quickness and agility to contribute as a corner as well as having the size to move inside to the safety position. Franks is a better athlete than football player but has the potential to develop into an excellent NFL defender. Franks has excelled as a punt returner and should contribute at the next level in that capacity as well as on coverage units while honing his skills in the secondary.
Franks brings a nice combination of size, height and athleticism to the corner position. He’s been a highly durable, extremely productive player during his time in Norman. Very versatile performer who has displayed the ability to also play safety. Has special teams value with coverage experience and as a proven return man.
Franks is inconsistent in run support but could improve in this area given his physical gifts. Only plays with average instincts. He must improve his pursuit angles and become more consistent leveraging the ball. Must refine his overall defensive back fundamentals.
Franks opted not to return to Oklahoma for his senior year, vaulting himself into the discussions about first-round corner talent. The former Sooner comes into the draft a confident cover corner who shows great potential as an immediate cover corner who can also contribute greatly to special teams
Franks’ man coverage skills are up and down. The numbers from his junior year at Oklahoma aren’t completely accurate as opposing quarterbacks wised up after his sophomore year and threw fewer balls his way. He has a quick backpedal and his hips rotate without a cinch.
He has a tendency to be fooled by stop-and-go routes but possesses the quick burst of speed to catch up to the route and tip the ball or make the open field tackle.
In zone coverage, Franks excels at coming off his primary man and clamping down on underneath routes to prevent a big play. Although he shows a great understanding of the game, he struggles at times in his communication with the safety, allowing runners to get behind him unprotected on fly routes.
He has a tremendous plant-and-drive technique that keeps out routes out of the offensive playbook on his side of the field. His long limbs allows him to stay off the ball enough to bait the quarterback and quickly recover with a tipped ball.
His hands aren’t the best, dropping would-be interceptions throughout his career and wasting big opportunities. He has a tendency to allow his confidence to translate to cockiness on the field, losing focus and allowing the big play to happen right under his nose.
Verdict: Franks has potential to be a solid #2 and would be an improvement at the #3 position over Wilhite. Franks can play return, safety and cornerback. He is weak against the run, but he has the size to step up and play the run at the NFL level and he definitely can be trained to do so. He can cover, he can play zone and he is a smart player. Sometimes he jumps the ball and he won't be getting many interceptions, but that puts him in the same boat as Wilhite- except that he can return the ball and is a bigger player. That actually makes him a combination of Wilhite and Wheatley. If he's around in the 3rd round, maybe we should trade up and grab him and if he's around in the 4th, then he'd be a prime candidate.