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4 Days to the Draft: Idaho OG, Mike Iupati

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.

Current guards Stephen Neal and Logan Mankins are no longer able to call themselves the franchise guards of the Patriots O-Line. While Mankins' contract deal waits in limbo, Neal was contemplating retirement this past season before decided to sign with the Patriots for what could very well be his last contract. In last year's draft, the Patriots made sure they grabbed Rich Ohrnberger and also picked up George Bussey later in the draft. Add in Dan Connolly and it seems as if the Patriots might not need to look at the guard position. However, Idaho's Mike Iupati is worth a look. Iupati (not "Lupati") was dominant at the college level and was a bruising run blocking lineman. He struggles in pass protection, but has the athleticism and upside to learn the pass blocking facet of being a guard. Iupati has the size to make scouts drool and has the basic skills to use his body well. Will he be elite in the NFL?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 6-5. Weight: 331.
Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
Combine 40 Time: 5.26.
Benchx225: 27. Arm: 34 3/4.

Player Comparison: Davin Joseph. Joseph is a mauling guard with inconsistent pass protection.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review! Scouting

 03/28/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT OFFENSIVE GUARDS: Mike Iupati, Idaho, 6-5, 331, 1: Iupati was born in American Samoa and moved to the USA at 14. Idaho grabbed him when other schools became concerned that he would have challenges academically because he was still learning the English language. In 2009, Iupati became the second non-Bowl Championship Series school player to be named a finalist for the Outland Trophy since the award's inception in 1946. He was the first Vandal to win All-America honors since Jerry Kramer, who was honorable mention in 1957. Iupati is a massive, powerful, athletic player who can dominate defenders and is just beginning to grasp the game. Although Iupati played guard in all 34 of his college games, NFL scouts are curious how much of an impact he might have as a defensive lineman or what type of quarterback security he might provide as a left tackle. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, Sports/USA TODAY Scouting

Iupati is a massive guard that started three years at Idaho although he did miss some time in 2008 after dealing with offseason shoulder surgery. He is one of the more powerful blockers in the draft and once he gets his hands on opponents it’s pretty much all over. Iupati was born in American Samoa and English is not his native language which can slow down his progress when it comes to learning new schemes and the playbook. While it may take Iupati a bit longer to develop into a front line player, he could have a long and productive career once he settles in.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review!

Verdict: Iupati has a small chance of being around when the Patriots draft and is most likely going to be selected before the end of the first round. While Iupati has tremendous promise, he doesn't fit the Patriots mold of guard since he is a run blocking guard. For a first round pick, it doesn't make sense to select a player who doesn't fit the scheme. I'd have to pass on Iupati.