While the draft may be far down the road for us as fans, the job of an NFL scout is never on break. While most were watching the Panthers and the Saints struggle for a divisional lead, the game the Patriots were watching was in the college ranks.
The #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles traveled to Kentucky to take on the #25 Louisville Cardinals. Florida State won 42-31 and notched their 24th straight victory.
For the Patriots, this was a gold mine for talent evaluation. They sent their two head honchos (not including Mr. Bill Belichick) from the front office to take in the game from the bleachers. Nick Caserio, Director of Player Personnel, and Monti Ossenfort, Director of College Scouting, attended the game in person.
Who are some of the prospects the team might have watched?
RB Michael Dyer - Dyer was the MVP for Auburn in their 2011 Championship season, but his time was cut short for violating team rules. He moved to Arkansas State in 2012, but was released from the team for speeding and lying to the head coach about being in possession of a gun. He moved to Arkansas Baptist and worked for his associates degree and took a break from football. In 2013, he moved to Louisville and is in his final year of eligibility. He is currently rated as a 7th round pick, obviously due to all his off-the-field issues. He's talented and picked up 134 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns against Florida State, after exploding for 173 yards and a touchdown against NC State the prior game.
Edge Lorenzo Mauldin - The Cardinals play a 3-4 defense and Mauldin should be considered an edge player in any scheme. He may not be a fit for the Patriots in the 4-3, but as a second round option he presents some intriguing versatility. He has 20 sacks through three years and over 30 tackles for loss.
WR Davante Parker - The 6'3 215 lbs receiver is going to be a draft darling. He's missed time due to injury, but it's possible that he's the most talented receiver in the draft. He picked up 214 receiving yards.
OG John Miller - Miller has started all four years at left guard for Louisville and is considered a fantastic mid-round guard prospect. He's not considered overly athletic, so there could be considered a ceiling, but he seems like a grinder.
Florida State - The Patriots dipped into the well last draft for center Bryan Stork. There is clear interest.
DT Eddie Goldman - The 6'4, 320 lbs defensive lineman is a beefy option to add to the stables. His quickness is fantastic, with the team reporting his 40 yard time in the 4.8 range. Ranked the #2 DT prospect in the country coming out of high school. Goldman has the knack for the big play and is ranked as a late first round talent.
DT Mario Edwards Jr - This 6'3, 315 lbs defensive lineman was the #1 ranked DT prospect out of high school (yes, they're teammates). Edwards is still raw as a prospect, but flashes considerable upside. He's quick, athletic, and a menace in the backfield. Edwards is currently tagged as a mid-2nd round player.
OG Josue Matias - The Seminoles 6'6, 330 lbs left guard for the past three seasons is a late-2nd round prospect and is a plug-and-play starter. He would be a highly enticing option in the next draft.
OG Tre Jackson - Like Matias, the 6'4, 330 lbs Jackson is a three year starter and is possibly the best fit out of all the draft prospects. While he ranks as a 3rd round prospect, Jackson has played at right guard and should be the best fit for the Patriots offensive line.