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.
Georgia DT Geno Atkins, who has potential to play DE, would be a great pick-up for our D-Line. Atkins provides a mid-round talent who could push for starting time at the DE position. He is able to get into the backfield and disrupt plays, but he struggles against good linemen and has a hard time stopping the run. He struggles against double teams, which is bad for his potential as a 3-4 end, but if we manage to convert Brace and Pryor into DEs, then we'll need depth in the NT position. While nothing is leaning towards these conversion, the potential remains and Atkins would be a suitable replacement in the middle. He's a smart and explosive player who causes problems for the opposing team- which is just the kind of player we need on our D-Line.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.
Height: 6-1. Weight: 293.
Projected 40 Time: 4.94.
Combine 40 Time: 4.75.
Benchx225: 34. Vertical: .
Projected Round (2010): 2.
Atkins is an undersized interior defender that is very productive at the collegiate level. He understands angles and how to leverage blockers with proper pad level and deceptive strength. Atkins is best when on the move (stunting) and does a great job of penetrating the line of scrimmage to disrupt the run as well as pressure the quarterback. Atkins is a good football player that needs to improve his hand use and expand his pass rush package to be effective at the next level. He should contribute at the next level in the right system (4-3 scheme) but may struggle due to lack of size.
Atkins has been a productive SEC defensive tackle. He plays with great intelligence and instincts and was a good student at Georgia as well. Plays with good motor and doesn’t stop till the whistle. Displays impressive quickness off the ball and good lateral agility in pursuit. Has impressive pass rushing ability for a defensive tackle.
01/27/2010 - Senior Bowl, Tuesday: A virtual opposite of Williams (and Cody) is Georgia's Geno Atkins. Possessing the best burst off the snap of any defensive lineman in this game -- including pass-rush specialists George Selvie and Antonio Coleman -- Atkins has been able to consistently slice through gaps and wreak havoc in the backfield. This week's practices have presented the inconsistent Atkins at his very best. Georgia coaches wish they could have gotten this type of effort from Atkins consistently throughout his career, but in being asked to only play for a few snaps before getting replaced, he has responded to the proverbial carrot of playing time in front of him with a strong performance. - Rob Rang and Chad Reuter, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com
Against the run: Was productive in this area in college, but lack of size will be more of an issue in NFL. Shows the initial quickness off the snap to get into gaps and disrupt blocking schemes or make tackles in the backfield; is highly productive against "reach" blocks. Shows the initial quickness, leverage and hand usage to jolt offensive linemen; can defeat one-on-one run blocks with quick hands and feet. Lacks the size and strength to shed offensive linemen once they get their hands on him. Grade: 7.5Pass rush: Explodes off the snap and into the backfield. Shows the hand usage and footwork to defeat one-on-one pass blocks with quick pass-rush moves. Gets underneath offensive linemen, jolting them backward when bull rushing aggressively; however, struggles to free up and make sack when close. Lacks size to be an elite bull rusher. Will deliver crushing hits to QB after the pass. Grade: 7.5(Read for more!)
Final Word: After a strong sophomore season where it appeared that he would be the next big thing in the SEC, Atkins totaled less than half the sacks from 2007 in his junior and senior years combined. While he played within a system that favored rotations, Atkins never took his performance to the next level. There were several effort and motor concerns with him at Georgia, and without the top tier physical package, that will be an issue in the NFL. However without any prior knowledge of him, one would think he could be a second round player after watching his performance at the Senior Bowl, as he was the one defensive lineman that gave Idaho guard Mike Iupati a fit on the field. His ability to penetrate a gap and free himself up in the backfield is something every defense wants. He will not get much bigger physically and his role at the next level will be limited, but he can be important piece to a strong unit if he remains focused.
Verdict: I don't think the need is there for the Patriots to take a player like Atkins- he's not a mind blowing prospect that would force the Patriots to grab him. He may be available in the 4th round, but we have other pressing needs that Atkins can't fill. Atkins has the potential to do well, but he seems unmotivated. He's not good against the double teams or the run, which means that he isn't a fit for our 3-4 scheme which requires our D-Liners to excel at both. Sorry Geno, I don't see you on the Patriots.