The New England Patriots have been making a lot of noise in free agency, with blockbuster trades and major contract deals, and the team no longer has a first or second round draft pick.
That’s okay for the Patriots because their scouts are attending college Pro Days around the country in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough to supplement the free agent acquisitions.
Head coach Bill Belichick joined his former protege Nick Saban at the University of Alabama Pro Day, but the Patriots will miss out on all of the blue chip talent and have to dig deep in the third and fourth rounds for contributors.
University of Colorado
The Patriots attended the Colorado Pro Day, per Tony Pauline, and Pauline reports that the Patriots “have interest” in nose tackle Josh Tupou.
Tupou is a 6’2 1/2, 353 pound beast in the heart of Colorado’s run defense. He projects to be a late round pick in day 3. He’s not an explosive player by any means, but he’s brutally strong and almost impossible to move.
Colorado also has three defensive backs that will be drafted- CB Ahkello Witherspoon, CB Chidobe Awuzie, and FS Tedric Thompson- but both cornerbacks will probably be gone before the Patriots first draft pick.
University of Wyoming
Pauline also reports that the Patriots attended the Wyoming Pro Day and met with WR Tanner Gentry. Gentry is 6’1, 208 pounds and recorded 72 receptions for 1326 yards and 14 TDs in 2016. He has solid athleticism and Pauline describes him as “the type of player the Patriots swipe in the late rounds then goes on to have a tremendous career.”
RB Brian Hill is the only other player of note at 6’1, 219 pounds. Hill has impressive explosion and quickness, but doesn’t have breakaway speed and is not much of a receiver. He rushed for 1,860 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2016, but caught just 8 passes for 67 yards.
University of Tulsa
Falcons, cowboys, colts, raiders, Dolphins, patriots, broncos, chargers, Rams, Jets, Vikings, and Bucs at TU Pro Day— Jeremie Poplin (@jeremiepoplin) March 10, 2017
WR Keevan Lucas is the only prospect of note as a potential slot option. Lucas is 5’9, 192 pounds, but has a quiet 4.55s 40 yard dash and 7.23s three cone time.
New England #Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio is at Temple Pro Day. He just briefly met with QB Phillip Walker.— Matt Vender (@Matt_Vender) March 8, 2017
Temple has a few great players, but LB Haason Reddick will be long gone by the time the Patriots pick in the third round- and he probably wouldn’t have lasted until the 32nd overall pick.
The Patriots have been giving special attention to RB Jahad Thomas, who is a pro style runner with exceptional receiving ability. Thomas only weighs 190 pounds and is not expected to be drafted with a 4.62s 40 yard dash.
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio apparently spoke with Temple QB Phillip Walker, who is a 4-year starter that is only 5’11, but holds all of Temple’s major quarterback records. Walker and Thomas are roommates, so perhaps Caserio was looking for information on Thomas.
University of Washington
I see Patriots, Broncos, Dolphins, Vikings, Texans, Falcons, Rams, Lions, Eagles, Chargers and 49ers reps here at the Washington Pro Day.— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) March 11, 2017
Washington has a ton of talent, but most will probably be gone before the third round. WR John Ross and CB Sidney Jones are projected first round picks, although Jones appeared to suffer a torn Achilles at the Pro Day and should fall in the draft. FS Budda Baker, CB Kevin King, and DT Elijah Qualls are expected to go in the second or third round.
The Patriots have previously met with Qualls, a 6’1, 313 pound defensive lineman that has played everywhere on the line.