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Looking at Patriots Prospects: A 2010 NFL Draft Preview, Offense

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With the draft kicking off tomorrow, and it being my first day here at Pats Pulpit, I thought I would lead off with a comprehensive draft "guide" for Patriots fans.  I have highlighted each offensive position in this article, listed prospects the Patriots have looked into, and highlighted a prospect for each position, while also looking at the level of need.

Everything can be found after the jump.

Quarterback

Name School HT/WT 40 yd Proj. Notes
McCoy, Colt Texas 6-1/215 4.79 Early 2 Undersized, smart, accurate, athletic spread QB
Tebow, Tim Florida 6-1/235 4.71 2nd Has intangibles, needs work on mechanics.  Athletic, power runner.
Pike, Tony Cincinatti 6-6/223 4.9 3rd Tall, pocket QB with good accuracy and awareness.  Must improve strength.
Crompton, Jonathan Tennessee 6-3/222 4.85 3rd-4th Great size/strength, but can make mistakes.  High upside.
Robinson, Zac Oklahoma St. 6-3/214 4.68 5th-6th Spread QB.  Small, but athletic.  Good short accuracy.
Edwards, Armanti Appalachian St. 5-11/185 4.43 5th-6th WR?  Fast, athletic.  Good accuracy, leader.
Kafka, Mike Northwestern 6-3/225 4.93 6th Good arm, spread QB.  Good size, great leader.  Durability key.
Smith, Rusty FAU 6-5/225 4.85 7th-FA Great size and arm strength.  Needs work on mechanics.

Need Level: Low

The Patriots have a superstar in place with Tom Brady under center for the foreseeable future.  Behind Brady is second year man Brian Hoyer.  Hoyer was an undrafted free agent last season, and really impressed the coaching staff, earning a roster spot as the only quarterback behind Tom Brady, beating out the likes of Kevin O'Connell, Andrew Walter, and Matt Gutierrez.  The Patriots may look to bring in a fresh body to compete for the #2 with Hoyer.

Featured Prospect: Tim Tebow, Florida

Throughout the draft process, the Patriots have constantly been connected to quarterback Tim Tebow.  They held a private workout with him and brought him in for a pre-draft visit among other things.  Analysts have said that the Patriots are the perfect fit for Tebow, as he needs time to develop under a team with a quarterback in place.  While the Patriots may actually be an ideal scenario for Tebow, you have to ask, where would the value be for such a situation?  Is it in the second round?  I sincerely doubt it.  I see Tebow as more of a third round value, and while I like his intangibles, I don't see the Patriots taking him in the 2nd round.

Running Back

Name School HT/WT 40 yd Proj. Notes
Mathews, Ryan Fresno State 6’/220 4.37 1st Power back with speed.  Best all around back in draft.
Hardesty, Montario Tennessee 6’/225 4.49 2nd-3rd Tough, power runner who is good receiver and blocker.  Injury history.
McCluster, Dexter Ole Miss 5-9/172 4.53 2nd-3rd Super quick and fast back who makes big plays.  Could play slot WR.
Dwyer, Jonathan Georgia Tech 5-11/230 4.6 2nd-3rd Power back with good vision.  Played in option offense.
Scott, Charles LSU 5-11/240 4.65 4th North-South runner who hits hole hard.  Had disappointing Senior year.
Blount, LeGarrette Oregon 6-1/245 4.65 6th-7th Talented power back w/ questionable speed, agility, and character.
Starks, James Buffalo 6-2/218 4.5 6th-7th Tall, productive back.  Good receiver, vision, burst.  Missed ’09 w/injury
Karim, Deji Southern Illinois 5-9/205 4.4 6th-7th Developmental 3rd down back.  Dominated FCS.  Raw, high upside.
Tonga, Manase BYU 5-11/245 4.78 7th-FA Good hands, good goal line runner.  Traditional fullback.

Need Level: Moderate

While Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk make up a nice rotation at running back, the latter three are all in their 30's, and there isn't a single back signed beyond 2010 for the Patriots.  With that said, it looks like running back is a position the Patriots should target in the first two rounds in the draft.  Players the Patriots could target in the first two rounds include Ryan Mathews, Montario Hardesty, Dexter McCluster (more of a WR), and Jonathan Dwyer.

Featured Prospect: Montario Hardesty

Montario Hardesty was a bit of a "one year wonder" for Tennessee.  At nearly 6', 225, Montario is a bruiser.  He is tough, and constantly drags tacklers after being hit.  He is also a solid receiver out of the backfield, and is just a really tough player overall.  Plus, he's got a nasty spin move.  If the Patriots took him at some point in the second round, he could be part of the rotation in 2010, before taking over as the lead back in 2011.

Wide Receiver

Name School HT/WT 40 yd Proj. Notes
Bryant, Dez Oklahoma St. 6-2/224 4.5 1st Character concerns could cause drop.  Top 5 talent in mold of Fitzgerald.
Thomas, Demaryius Georgia Tech 6-3/224 4.52 1st-2nd Huge, physical wideout who averaged 25.1 ypc.  Not polished, play option offense.
Tate, Golden Notre Dame 5-10/200 4.42 Early 2 Big-time playmaker who is extremely athletic and is like a RB after catch.
Benn, Arrelious Illinois 6-1/220 4.5 2nd Strong, physical, talented wide receiver who is raw, bad has good potential.
Williams, Damian USC 6-1/197 4.52 2nd Polished route runner who isn’t athletic, but could develop into a nice #2.
Decker, Eric Minnesota 6-3/217 4.54 2nd-3rd Excellent hands, good frame.  Not elite athlete, but makes tough plays in traffic.
Gilyard, Mardy Cincinatti 6’/187 4.6 2nd-3rd Lean WR who is dangerous after catch.  Makes big plays, but isn’t elite athlete.
LaFell, Brandon LSU 6-3/211 4.58 2nd-3rd Big red zone target, good route runner.  Small hands, drops passes.
Price, Taylor Ohio 6-1/204 4.39 3rd-4th Not a polished WR, but with his size/speed, has high ceiling.
Roberts, Andre Citadel 5-11/195 4.4 3rd-4th Fast, elusive receiver who is undersized but has great potential.
Cooper, Riley Florida 6-4/222 4.53 4th Reliable receiver with great size.  Very tough, but needs to be coached up.
Easley, Marcus Connecticut 6-3/210 4.38 4th-5th Excellent size/speed combo.  One year wonder.  Can catch outside frame.
Sanders, Emmanuel Southern Methodist 5-11/186 4.4 5th Slot receiver with excellent speed/quickness.  Dances.
Long, Scott Louisville 6-2/216 4.46 5th-6th Great size and speed.  Quick.  Lacks consistent production.
Williams, Jeremy Tulane 6’/206 4.59 6th Great size and hands.  Good production.  Questionable speed/concentration.
Ajirotutu, Seyi Fresno State 6-4/204 4.6 7th Great size, surprisingly good route runner.  Underutilized, not real fast.
Horne, Jeremy UMass 6-2/200 4.41 7-FA Explosive, athletic WR with good size.  Needs development.
Moore, Michael Georgia 6-1/200 4.55 PFA Solid overall receiver.  Physical.  Low production as starter.
Guy, Trent Louisville 5-8/171 4.53 PFA Small, quick wideout with breakaway speed.  Kick returner.

Need Level: Moderate

While the Patriots just added Torry Holt, the wide receiver position is still a moderate need for the Patriots.  Wes Welker will probably miss a good chunk of time in 2010, and Randy Moss could be in the last year of his contract.  Julian Edelman looks like a solid piece for the future.  Brandon Tate has a high ceiling but is still a relative unknown at this point.  Adding a young receiver with a high pick wouldn't be such a bad thing for the Patriots.

Featured Prospect: Dez Bryant

There are no questions about Dez Bryant's talent level: he is a top five worthy player.  However, there are questions about his character that could cause him to slide on draft day.  If he fell to the Patriots at 22, it would make for a very intriguing pick.  Dez could learn under Randy Moss for a year, then take over as the number one in 2011.  The Patriots brought Bryant in for a pre-draft visit, so there is a chance that they could be interested.

Tight End

Name School HT/WT 40 yd Proj. Notes
Gresham, Jermaine Oklahoma 6-5/261 4.66 Late 1 Elite receiving TE.  Great hands, can separate from LB’s.  Injured in ’09.
Dennis Pitta BYU 6-5/245 4.68 2nd-3rd Underrated receiving TE. Can play slot.  Makes catches in traffic. Willing blocker.
Aaron Hernandez Florida 6-3/245 4.64 2nd-3rd Short but stocky.  Can move wide.  Great receiver.  Not great in-line blocker.
Graham, Jimmy Miami 6-6/260 4.53 3rd Former basketball star, developed late in year.  High risk/reward. Elite athlete.
McCoy, Anthony USC 6-5/259 4.71 3rd-4th Good all-around TE. Might have character issues. Good frame, needs weight.
Tony Moeaki Iowa 6-3/245 4.69 3rd-4th Good value.  Good receiver with solid hands, blocking value. Injury history.
Dickerson, Dorin Pittsburgh 6-3/226 4.40 4th Very small. Can play H-back, TE, WR, even LB. Solid red zone target.
Nate Byham Pittsburgh 6-4/268 4.97 5th-6th One of the best blocking TEs, Byham could have value in short passing game.
Sicko, Scott New Hampshire 6-4/251 4.56 6th-7th Can challenge the seam, good hands, measurable.  Played FCS

Need Level: High

The Patriots have only one real option at tight end on their roster in Alge Crumpler (unless you count Rob Agnone or Rob Myers).  There is no question that tight end must be a priority for the Patriots.  If the Patriots want a tight end in the first round, the two most realistic options would be Jermaine Gresham and possibly even Rob Gronkowski.  Dennis Pitta, Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, Anthony McCoy, and Tony Moeaki all seem to be viable second round options.  If the Patriots don't come out of this draft with one or two tight ends, I would be very surprised.

Featured Prospect: Dennis Pitta, BYU

I have Dennis Pitta as my third ranked tight end behind Gresham and Gronkowski.  The Patriots already acquired a blocking tight end in Alge Crumpler, so they could use a receiving tight end to complement him.  Dennis Pitta would be perfect in that role.  He has great size and decent speed.  While he may not be the best in-line blocker, he is very willing and can improve.  As a receiver, he may not threaten the seam consistently, but he has great hands, and consistently makes tough catches in traffic.  Pitta has the potential to be a Dallas Clark-type of weapon for Tom Brady.

Offensive Line

Name School HT/WT 40 yd Proj. Notes
Davis, Anthony Rutgers 6-5/323 5.36 1st High risk/high reward tackle. Has had weight issues, but is an excellent player.
Brown, Charles USC 6-6/303 5.24 1st-2nd Converted TE to tackle, great athleticism. Raw, but high upside.
Campbell, Chris Eastern Illinois 6-5/328 5.28 5th-6th Big tackle/guard prospect with impressive short shuttle time.
Richmond, Nic TCU 6-8/310 5.25 7th-FA Massive frame, can move well, has played both tackle spots. Very raw.
Ducasse, Vladimir UMass 6-5/332 5.21 2nd College tackle who projects to guard.  Great athlete, must improve footwork.
Gregory, Kurtis Missouri 6-5/305 5.18 7th-FA College tackle will move inside. High IQ/instincts, decent athlete.
Bustle, Brad Louisiana-Lafayette 6-2/298 5.22 PFA Quick guard who fits a pass oriented offense.  Needs a lot of work.
Pouncey, Maurkice Florida 6-5/304 5.25 1st High IQ center with strength and athleticism to anchor against pass.
Tennant, Matt Boston College 6-5/300 5.15 2nd-3rd Center who may struggle against biggers NT’s. Good technique.
Larsen, Ted NC State 6-3/304 5.19 4th-5th Former DT with improving technique with some upside.
Cordle, Jim Ohio State 6-4/305 5.34 PFA Extremely versatile center (has played all 5 along line), w/ limited upside

Position Need: Low-Moderate

The Patriots look pretty set at tackle with Matt Light, Sebastian Vollmer, and Nick Kaczur as the top three returning in 2010.  At guard, the Patriots return Stephen Neal and Logan Mankins, with Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, and last year's 4th round pick Rich Ohrnberger providing depth.  At center, the starter is Dan Koppen.  Koppen has been regressing slightly as of late, and with Stephen Neal getting up there in age, and Logan Mankin's contract situation up in the air, there could be a need for a center or guard early in the 2010 draft.

Featured Prospect: Matt Tennant, Boston College

Matt Tennant is thin for a center at 6-5, 300 pounds.  There are some questions as to whether or not he can hold up against NFL nose tackles.  However, he has good awareness, and is very quick off the snap.  He displays good technique, and can get to the second level; all traits the Patriots look for in their centers and guards.  If the Patriots are looking for a center in round 2, or if they acquire a pick in round 3, they could look in Tennant's direction.