Name: FS Robert Sands
School: West Virginia
Size: 6'4, 217 lbs
Expected Round: 3rd-5th
40 Time: 4.53s
Career Stats: Click Here.
Strengths: Big, tall player who can make it all over the field. He may be better in zone defense because of his height, where he can play in an area and knock down passes. Sands is a big hitter and can use his size to take on blockers. May be the Tank Williams sort of Safety/Linebacker hybrid that Hoodie has been looking for for a while. Size allows him to make the tackles. Makes tackles in the backfield. Solid pass defender with great closing speed, if the player is in front of him.
Weaknesses: Sands' height can prevent him from changing direction, which is why he may be better in zone that man. Tall players (as in 6'4) in the secondary are often torched by quick players in the secondary. Needs to work on his Football IQ. Might be a straight line player and can take poor open field angles.
Why and Why Not the Patriots after the jump, and my final verdict!
Why the Patriots?: The Patriots could be in the market for another FS and Sands is a big player who can take away the deep ball. Hoodie's always wanted a Safety Backer who doesn't have to leave the field- a player who can step into the LB spot in the 3-4 and drop into coverage in the 3-3-5. He tested it a little bit with Pat Chung and Jarrad Page last season, by keeping one in the box, but he could be trying to find his perfect player.
Why Not the Patriots?: Sands isn't a "bend-don't-break" kind of player. He's an all or nothing threat who can be beat by a lot of NFL receivers. He may only be able to cover TEs at the next level, which is fine, but it's not what the Patriots are looking for in their free safety prospects. Sands is also a junior, and he's not a polished junior. He's too much of a project.
Verdict: I'm not sure if I even like Sands as a prospect. He seems like a less athletic Brandon Meriweather since he take poor angles (but even more frequently than Meriweather) and struggles a bit with his football IQ. I think he's better off adding 20 pounds and becoming a 4-3 OLB because he's not really a FS at the next level, in my opinion. Possibly a SS, but he'll need to be coached. I don't think the Patriots are looking for a player like Sands.
Courtesy of Aaron Aloysius.