This past weekend marked the beginning of the college football season and there were plenty of great games, including #1 Alabama- led by head coach Nick Saban, former Bill Belichick defensive coordinator- absolutely drubbing #20 USC 52-6.
But one game in particular has the attention of the New England Patriots: #11 Ole Miss vs #4 Florida State, which kicks off tonight at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN.
Per NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread, the Patriots are sending scouts to this game, and for good reason. This is a match with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.
Ole Miss features two quality offensive options in tight end Evan Engram, a 6’3, 230 pound prospect that is slated to go in the second round, and wide receiver Dameore’ea Stringfellow, a 6’2, 210 pound transfer from Washington that is expected to go late in the third round.
Florida State has more options that could interest the Patriots, and they all happen to be on the offensive side of the ball, too.
Running back Dalvin Cook is a 5’11, 215 pound prospect expected to go in the first half of the first round. Cook was an All American rusher last season after picking up 1,691 rushing yards and 244 receiving yards, and scoring 20 touchdowns. There’s a very real chance that Cook will be off the board before the Patriots draft next season, but the running back class is deep an devalued, so anything is possible.
Left tackle Roderick Johnson is a 6’7, 310 pound junior that is entering his third season as FSU’s starting left tackle. Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is close with FSU’s offensive line coach Rick Trickett so you know there will some discussion, even though the other two FSU linemen (Bryan Stork, Tre Jackson) haven’t worked out. He is currently expected to go late in the first round.
Wide receiver Travis Rudolph is a 6’1, 190 pound target projected to go in the second round. Rudolph snagged 59 receptions for 916 yards and 7 touchdowns last season, but you might know him as the athlete that received national attention after he was spotted eating lunch alongside a middle schooler with autism.
The Patriots have serious needs at tackle, wide receiver, and running back, and some needs on defense could open up if free agency doesn’t go the way the team hopes it will.