The Senior Bowl is a good chance for a lot of players who aren't clear cut Top 10 talent to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. For these players, it's an opportunity to show the NFL scouts why teams should draft him and how they will play in the pros. With some of the best competition going against each other, we see weaknesses in their game and how the players respond to it will determine their draft stock. Today is the weigh-in day for Senior Bowl prospects, which the results can be found here.
TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State:
Vannett is not used a lot as a receiver for Ohio State and qualifies more as an inline tight end than a Joker type. Vannett brings a good combination of size at 6'5" 256 to give his QB a big target to throw to. The TE class in 2016 is very uninspiring, but Vannett certainly can change that with a good week. Vannett probably doesn't create mismatches in the passing game that you would see from a Joker type TE and the Patriots already have a blocking TE in Michael Williams. This type of pick would be to compile depth behind Rob Gronkowski, whose production cannot realistically be replaced in any sort of way. Vannett is likely a Day 3 pick in the draft.
OT Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech:
Clark has unbelievable length with a 6'6" frame with 36" arms and a wingspan over 85". Clark is likely more of a high-upside, but very raw type prospect coming from a spread offense ran by former Patriots QB Kliff Kingsbury. I believe there are questions about his ability to operate out of three-point stances, which is a must in the NFL. This week he will get a lot of tutelage in operating out of a three-point stance and improving his pass protection. Clark's athleticism makes him a terrific run blocker, but his pass protection needs work before he can reach his ceiling. Patriots best shot at landing him is with their 2nd round pick.
LB Josh Perry, Ohio State:
Perry checks off all the size requirements the Patriots like at linebacker. Darron Lee gets all the hype and rightfully so, but Josh Perry is also a very talented player at the linebacker position and could offer the Patriots insurance and depth there. Perry is a physical downhill linebacker and would likely suit up at Middle Linebacker for the Patriots. Perry is going to be a late-riser in the draft process when he gets more exposure like Jamie Collins three years ago, I've already marked his floor at the Patriots 2nd round pick. Perry is one of the few seniors on the Ohio State defense and led the team in tackles.
WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers:
This has nothing to do with the Rutgers connection that BB had with players coming out of Schiano's program. Carroo was a Schiano recruit, but only played for him 1 year. Carroo isn't the biggest or the fastest receiver out there, but has terrific downfield acceleration and is a good route runner. Carroo was kicked off the program this year, which could cause him to drop in the draft. If the flags check out and Carroo learned from his mistakes, the Patriots could absolutely get a steal at the WR position. Carroo has first round talent, the question is will teams take him that high. In a previous mock draft by SB Nation, Carroo fell to the Patriots at 60th overall.
RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech:
Dixon is the ideal run/pass threat out of the backfield that would allow for the Patriots offense to operate at maximum efficiency. Dixon is a terrific receiver out of the backfield and can run in-between the tackles. With the need to have a dual threat out of the backfield on the cheap as opposed to using specialists, the Patriots offense can get more creative. Dixon isn't likely a first round pick, but the question no becomes does he play his way above the Patriots draft range?
DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech:
Vernon Butler is the ideal fit if the Patriots are look for a big nose tackle that can clog the running game and collapse the pocket. At 6'4" 325 with 34" arms, Butler has the length and the bulk to be a successful interior rusher in the NFL. His size profiles compares very well to current Patriots DT Akiem Hicks. Butler will be another late-riser in the draft when he gets more exposure. Butler stands the most to gain from the DT prospects in the Senior Bowl. The Patriots likely chance of getting them is their 2nd round pick, which means at least one of these six prospects will not likely be a Patriot in May.
With the Senior Bowl week now upon us, who is your favorite prospect going into the Senior Bowl?