Three Patriots Sleepers: Safety

Despite his slow straight line speed and small size for the position, Ahmad Black could be a real steal for the Patriots on day two or three of the draft.

The second in a series of articles looking a three "sleeper" prospects from each position in the 2011 NFL Draft class that the Patriots could target:

Ahmad Black, SS/FS, Florida

HT/WT: 5'10", 184 | 40 Yard: 4.7 | Projection: 4th-5th

It was almost a year ago when the Patriots, on the clock in the second round, took a Florida player with a history of high production and leadership, who didn't time well at the combine in linebacker Brandon Spikes.  Ahmad Black is a similar player.  Black plays faster than his timed speed indicates, he tackles harder and plays more physical than his size indicates.  He is actually very effective in coverage.  He has tremendous instincts and is a very smart football player.  He has great ball skills.  If a team like the Patriots is willing to overlook his size and timed speed, they could get a very productive football player in Ahmad Black.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see the Patriots take him in the third round.

Jaiquawn Jarrett, FS/SS, Temple

HT/WT: 6'0", 198 | 40 Yard: 4.62 | Projection: 4th

Jaiquawn Jarrett is an experienced safety who is very productive in run support.  He is a solid open field tackler who has good instincts and football intelligence.  Occasionally, he can be caught out of position against the pass, and can also be too aggressive against the run.  Still, he has the length to cover tight ends, and the fluidity to cover receivers and backs.  And considering his smarts, those areas in which he needs work (in coverage) could likely be refined.  I don't see Jarrett going any later than the 4th round, and he could immediately come in and be part of a safety rotation, before becoming a starter in a year or two.

Mark LeGree, FS, Appalachian State

HT/WT: 6'0", 210 lbs | 40 Yard: 4.49 | Projection: 6th-7th

Mark LeGree, despite playing at FCS school Appalachian State, finished his career as the all-time active NCAA leader with 22 career interceptions.  After recording 17 of those between his sophomore and junior seasons, LeGree still produced big plays as a senior, despite teams throwing away from him.  After a strong performance at the combine, LeGree's stock has been on the rise.  Of course, people can question his competition level.  However, based on his strong tackling, aggressive play, and solid technique, it's my belief that he could be a real steal if taken some time during day three of the NFL draft.

Also keep an eye on:

Kevin Rutland, Missouri

Mana Silva, Hawaii

Collin Zych, Harvard

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