New England Patriots

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Patriots are set to host their biggest Top-30 visit so far – both literally and figuratively. According to Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network, the team will be meeting with Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning on Wednesday.

    Penning entered the pre-draft process projected to be a Day 2 pick. Yet after standing out at both the Senior Bowl – where he was voted Offensive Lineman of the Week by the defensive linemen he was competing against – and the NFL Combine, some now project him as a potential top-15 pick.

    A three-year starter for the Panthers who played primarily left tackle but has experience at right as well, Penning is one of the more athletic offensive linemen in this draft. His large 6-foot-7, 325 pound frame gives him plenty of room to work with moving laterally. Penning also plays the game with a real nasty demeanor, and finished block after block in one-on-one drills in Mobile.

  • Penning would be a logical selection for the Patriots if he makes it to the 21st pick – which feels like a coin flip at this point. Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have done an excellent job staying ahead of things at the position, and aside from injury situations have had just three starting left tackles since 2000 in Matt Light, Nate Solder, and Isaiah Wynn.

    With Wynn on a contract year, it could be time to add the next link to that chain. In the few times he has had to add a left tackle, Belichick has stayed a year ahead of the move. He drafted Solder in 2011, with Light on the final year of his contract. After a season at right tackle, he took over the job. When the team drafted Wynn, they also traded for Trent Brown to buy a year for Wynn’s development if needed (which ended up being the case as Wynn got hurt in the preseason and missed the year).

    There’s more to Penning being a fit then just him being a projected first-round tackle. although all three of those players were drafted with premium picks (Light in the second round, Solder and Wynn in the first) Like Light, Solder, and Wynn, he wins as much athletically as he does by being a pure mauler. Yet another point in common is his Senior Bowl participation – something we know the Patriots value. Light, Solder, and Wynn were Senior Bowl participants as well.

    Of course, for any of this to happen Penning would need to fall to the Patriots. Even if he does, the team’s recent success developing offensive linemen may have them pushing that need further down the board. That’s been the case as of late – they’ve only drafted three linemen in the top 100 (Isaiah Wynn 23rd overall in 2018, Antonio Garcia 85th overall in 2017, and Joe Thuney 78th overall in 2016) in the last 10 years.

    Who else have the Patriots met with leading up to the NFL Draft? Here’s a look at the prospects we know they’ve spoken to so far…

  • 2022 Patriots pre-draft meeting tracker

    • With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, the Patriots’ plan is starting to take some shape. A big part of that is seeing which players the team is meeting with during the pre-Draft process. Here’s a rundown of all the players who have reportedly met with the team throughout the winter and spring…

    • OL Zach Tom, Wake Forest

      Oct 2, 2021; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive lineman Zach Tom (50) prepares to block Louisville Cardinals defensive lineman Tabarius Peterson (29) during the second quarter at Truist Field. Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

      Oct 2, 2021; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons offensive lineman Zach Tom (50) prepares to block Louisville Cardinals defensive lineman Tabarius Peterson (29) during the second quarter at Truist Field. Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Virtual

      Height: 6-foot-4

      Weight: 304 pounds

      Experience: 48 starts in four years, 34 at tackle, 14 at center

      Career accolades: All-ACC First Team (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Center prospect who spent the last two seasons at left tackle. Tom was extremely impressive in pass protection at tackle despite a lack of desired size or length, but he’s likely headed back to center in the pros. He plays with technique and plus body control, but his aggression level is a little lacking in the run game and his mass is below average. Tom could be a priority for teams with leaky interior protection. He has Day 3 value as an above-average backup with eventual starting potential.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Early Day 3

    • RB Mataeo Durant, Duke

      Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

      Sep 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Mataeo Durant (21) makes a hard cut on a run play against the Charlotte 49ers during the first quarter at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Pre-draft workout

      Height: 6-foot-1

      Weight: 195 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 1,241 yards, 4.9 yards/carry, 9 TDs, 27 catches, 256 receiving yards, 2 TDs

      Career accolades: All-ACC First Team (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“North and south runner that has home run hitting ability. Durant is a solid college back that should have an NFL future. His ability to find holes and hit them with speed will keep him in the eyes of NFL evaluators.” (Source)

      Projected pick: UDFA

    • DL Thomas Booker, Stanford

      Sep 25, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Thomas Booker (4) celebrates during the first quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

      Sep 25, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive end Thomas Booker (4) celebrates during the first quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Virtual

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 301 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 59 tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 sack

      Career accolades: All-Pac-12 Second Team Defense (2021, 2020), All-Pac-12 First Team Special Teams (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“Defensive tackle with pretty good flashes but a lack of consistency that can be frustrating to watch. Booker has a thick frame and pretty good upper-body power but is unable to plant a post leg and hold his ground against edge pressure or double teams. He’s strong enough to punch and separate but arm length might be the culprit in his inability to rid himself of blocks on a consistent basis. He’s a decent athlete with some rush potential and could be a rotational player for a team employing multiple fronts.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Middle Day 3

    • TE Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina

      Oct 7, 2021; Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers tight end Isaiah Likely (4) runs with the ball after a catch for a touchdown during the second half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Centennial Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

      Oct 7, 2021; Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA; Coastal Carolina Chanticleers tight end Isaiah Likely (4) runs with the ball after a catch for a touchdown during the second half against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Centennial Bank Stadium. Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Informal

      Height: 6-foot-4

      Weight: 245 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 59 receptions, 912 yards, 12 TDs

      Career accolades: All-American Second Team (2021), All-Sun Belt First Team (2021, 2020), All-Sun Belt Third Team (2019)

      Scouting report:¬†“Tight end prospect with an intangibles profile and positional traits that make him projectable to the next level. Likely was a winner in high school and played a pivotal role in the ascension of Coastal Carolina over the past two seasons. He lacks a prototypical tight end frame and is an inconsistent blocker, but he runs well and filled up his career stat sheet with big plays. It could take Likely a year or two to find his footing against stronger, faster coverage, but he has the tools to uncover against NFL coverage as an ‘F’ tight end.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 2-Early Day 3

    • OT Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan

      Feb 1, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan (76) works with a coach during National practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Feb 1, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan (76) works with a coach during National practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 6-foot-7

      Weight: 305 pounds

      Experience: 18 starts at left tackle between 2020-2021, played 26 games with 11 starts as a tight end from 2018-2019

      Career accolades: All-American Second Team (2021), All-MAC First Team (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“With alluring athleticism and an impressive skill set, Raimann is just scratching the surface of his potential. His initial transition from tight end to left tackle occurred in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, making his rapid transformation fairly remarkable. He is a much better technician than he should be at this stage, but his approach is also mechanical and he could struggle against sophisticated edge defenders until he learns to diversify his pass sets and hand usage. Raimann’s instincts and fundamentals at the position are still in a developmental phase so bumps in the road are expected, but his best football is ahead of him and he should become a long-time starter at left tackle.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 1st-Early 2nd round

    • QB EJ Perry, Brown

      Providence, RI, Sept 18, 2021 - Brown QB EJ Perry throwing to a Bear receiver on a 2nd quarter play. The Brown Bears and the URI Rams face off in the annual Governor's Cup game, at Brown Stadium on Saturday afternoon. (The Providence Journal/Kris Craig)

      Providence, RI, Sept 18, 2021 – Brown QB EJ Perry throwing to a Bear receiver on a 2nd quarter play. The Brown Bears and the URI Rams face off in the annual Governor’s Cup game, at Brown Stadium on Saturday afternoon. (The Providence Journal/Kris Craig)

      Meeting: Pre-draft visit

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 210 pounds

      2021 production: 10 games, 66.4% completions, 3,033 yards, 6.83  yards per attempt, 23 TDs, 14 INTs, 402 rushing yards, 3.6 yards per carry, 7 TDs

      Career accolades: Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year (2021), All-Ivy League First Team (2019, 2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Productive quarterback who became a dual-threat playmaker against Ivy League competition. Perry has average size and arm strength but below-average mechanics and consistency as a passer. He doesn’t value the football enough as a decision-maker and lacks a desired level of ball placement. His toughness and talent as a runner create attention, as teams might ask Perry to add a few more pounds in order to see if he can become a valuable Swiss Army Knife who’s able to help at a variety of positions, including special teams.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 3

    • OL Tyler Vrabel, Boston College

      Nov 28, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel (78) during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at Alumni Stadium. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      Nov 28, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Tyler Vrabel (78) during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at Alumni Stadium. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting:Pre-draft visit

      Height: 6-foot-5

      Weight: 307 pounds

      Experience: Three-year starter, two at left tackle one at right tackle, 36 games total

      Scouting report:¬†“The son of Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, Tyler Vrabel was a three-year starter for Boston College with two seasons spent at left tackle and one at right tackle. Vrabel is a physical and aggressive blocker that functions with good timing and is proficient at both left and right tackle. He has good block temperament and power in the run game and his footwork is sound in pass protection. Overall, he is a good athlete for the position with sufficient lateral movement skills. The main areas of concern for Vrabel and his projection to the NFL is that he needs to play with better bend, be careful about overextending, and not duck his head on contact in the run game. He has poor posture and tends to get top-heavy and gets caught leaning. There are frequent enough instances with him getting outreached that brings into question his length and that could lead to a transition to guard at the next level. It would be unsurprising for Vrabel to develop into a starter or quality reserve but he has some concerns to iron out so that he can reach his potential.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Priority UDFA

    • DE Joshua Onujiogu, Framingham State

      Meeting: Pre-draft visit

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 250 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 68 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, INT

      Career accolades: MASCAC Defensive Player of the Year (2021, 2019)

      Projected pick: UDFA

    • CB Josh Thompson, Texas

      Dec 29, 2020; San Antonio, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive back Josh Thompson (9) breaks up the pass intended for Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Daniel Arias (6) in the first quarter at the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell /American-Statesman-USA TODAY Sports

      Dec 29, 2020; San Antonio, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive back Josh Thompson (9) breaks up the pass intended for Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Daniel Arias (6) in the first quarter at the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell /American-Statesman-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Pre-draft workout

      Height: 6-foot

      Weight: 191 pounds

      2021 production: 9 games, 34 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBUs

      Scouting report:¬†“Big defensive back with below-average body control, balance and overall coverage traits. Thompson has build-up speed but lacks short-area burst and instincts to put himself in position to make many plays on the football. He’s better off playing bump-and-run coverage over zone if he stays at cornerback, but his limitations and measurables make a move to safety his best opportunity to make an NFL club in the future.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 3/Priority UDFA

    • RB James Cook, Georgia

      ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 18: James Cook #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      ATHENS, GA – SEPTEMBER 18: James Cook #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 190 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 728 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry, 7 TDs, 27 catches, 284 receiving yards, 4 receiving TDs

      Scouting report:¬†“Change-of-pace runner with vision and flow but a lack of functional play strength. The younger brother of Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, James has his brother’s one-cut talent and ability to stack cuts seamlessly through the second level. However, he is missing his big brother’s build, contact balance and toughness between the tackles, which will surely cap expectations and asks from an NFL club. His slashing style fits with outside zone and toss plays. He can also be used as a mismatch option as a pass-catcher. Cook has big-play ability but is unlikely to see his carry count get very high.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 3rd-4th round

    • CB Chase Lucas, Arizona State

      Nov 13, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Chase Lucas (24) stands during a second quarter timeout against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

      Nov 13, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Chase Lucas (24) stands during a second quarter timeout against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Pre-draft visit

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 180 pounds

      2021 production: 10 games, 34 tackles, 6 PBUs

      Career accolades: All-Pac-12 Second Team (2017, 2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“Slender boundary corner with an enormous amount of football snaps in his background. Lucas plays in off coverages, which is likely for the best considering his lack of strength and long speed. He typically trusts his eyes and has the traits to make plays on the football. He plays with adequate footwork to pedal and match basic routes but struggles to stay connected to more complex routes, as his body control and change of direction let him down. His lack of size will make him a target against both the run and pass at the next level. Lucas projects as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent who could struggle to find NFL work.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-Day 3

    • LB Darien Butler, Arizona State

      Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arizona State linebacker Darien Butler (LB07) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

      Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arizona State linebacker Darien Butler (LB07) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Pre-draft visit

      Height: 5-foot-10

      Weight: 221 pounds

      2021 production: 10 games, 68 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 3 INTs, 3 PBUs

      Scouting report:¬†“Butler trimmed down and became a faster, more impactful player with increased range and better coverage. The three-time captain is the heart and soul of his defense and flies around looking to make a hit. He’s inconsistent at diagnosing the play, and his lack of length and poise stymie his finishing rate as a tackler. Butler’s toughness, cover talent and potential to help on special teams gives him a shot to make a squad despite his lack of physical traits.” (Source)

      Projected pick: UDFA

    • CB Trent McDuffie, Washington

      SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 28: Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass during the final seconds of play to secure a 24-21 win against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

      SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 28: Trent McDuffie #22 of the Washington Huskies intercepts a pass during the final seconds of play to secure a 24-21 win against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 195 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 35 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 6 PBUs

      Career accolades: All-American Third Team (2021), All-Pac-12 First Team (2021), All-Pac-12 Second Team (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“Three-year starter whose average size is overshadowed by skillful ruggedness, allowing him to contest throws from a variety of coverages. He’s an elite competitor with a route-hugging mentality fueled by body control, foot agility, aggression and burst. He’s a pesky press-man defender with the tools to excel in zone. He’s willing to fly downhill and hit anybody near the football. He keeps his eyes on the prize and has an itchy, twitchy trigger to close throwing windows and make plays on the ball. He lacks lockdown traits but has lockdown talent and his competitive energy is contagious. He can play outside or from the slot and carries a very high floor with the potential to become one of the league’s top corners at some point during his first contract.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-1st round

    • CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

      COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 27: Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. #23 of the Clemson Tigers makes an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver Josh Vann #6 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

      COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 27: Cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. #23 of the Clemson Tigers makes an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver Josh Vann #6 of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second quarter during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 6-foot

      Weight: 194 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 37 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 INTs, 5 PBUs

      Career accolades: All-ACC First Team (2021), All-ACC Second Team (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“A press/zone combo corner with good size and length, Booth plays with an urgent, competitive nature. He has the strength, balance and foot agility to press and slow the release. He has limited starting experience, though. He will need more development to prevent route specialists from manipulating his feet and hips. Booth has the ball-tracking and play strength to find and maintain top-dog positioning through catch tries. He’s more effective in off coverage underneath than tight man. He needs to play more football, but his ball-hawking instincts, burst to close and toughness in run support will be very appealing for zone teams looking for an upgrade at cornerback.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-1st round

    • G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

      Sep 25, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) in action during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

      Sep 25, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Kenyon Green (55) in action during the game between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Texas A&M Aggies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 6-foot-4

      Weight: 323 pounds

      Experience: 35 starts over three years, primarily at left guard

      Career accolades: Consensus All-American (2020, 2021), All-SEC First Team (2021), All-SEC Second Team (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“Guard prospect with NFL-ready frame who plays with an impressive level of consistency as a run blocker. Green moves defenders from Point A to Point B against their will, using hand technique and road-grading leg drive. He possesses adequate foot quickness to operate in a variety of run schemes, but needs to eliminate his tendency to grab when his opponent is slipping away from the block. He has pop and anchor in pass protection, but lacks recognition and mirror technique needed to be at his best against athletic interior rushers. While green has some areas to improve, his run blocking can be dominant, which gives him a chance to become a good starter very quickly.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 1st round

    • LB Nakobe Dean, Georgia

      Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Sanford Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      Nakobe Dean #17 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts in the second half against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Sanford Stadium on October 2, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Combine | Pro Day

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 229 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 72 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 2 FFs

      Career accolades: Consensus All-American (2021), All-SEC First Team (2021), Butkus Award (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Explosive, three-down linebacker with the demeanor and quickness to become a volume tackler while holding down third-down duties at a high level. Dean’s play recognition is a work in progress, which limits reaction time and forces him to deal with more blockers than he’ll see as he gains more experience. Quick feet and plus agility will bring him to ball-carriers at a high rate but a lack of size and length means he’ll need to fine-tune his approach as a tackler to make sure he finishes what he starts. He might lack measurables, but he has the toughness and technique to see a boost in his performance once his play becomes more proactive.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 1st round

    • CB Jack Jones, Arizona State

      PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 18 : Jack Jones #0 of the Arizona State Sun Devils intercepts a pass intended for Gunner Romney #18 of the BYU Cougars during their game September 18, 2021 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

      PROVO, UT – SEPTEMBER 18 : Jack Jones #0 of the Arizona State Sun Devils intercepts a pass intended for Gunner Romney #18 of the BYU Cougars during their game September 18, 2021 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 171 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 41 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 3 INTs, 6 PBUs, 3 FFs

      Scouting report:¬†“A highly coveted recruit coming out of Long Beach Poly High School, Jones initially attended USC and started all 14 games in his sophomore season, leading the Trojans with four interceptions. But following that breakout season, Jones was ruled academically ineligible and then arrested for breaking into a restaurant after hours, eventually pleading guilty to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of commercial burglary. After spending a year in junior college, Jones enrolled at Arizona State. Earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors in 2019 and 2021, Jones was limited to one game in 2020 due to a suspension for violating team rules. As a player, he’s a ball-hawking cornerback with playmaking instincts. Despite solid ball production, though, Jones also gave up a lot of touchdowns at the college level. His lack of size/strength should make technique a top priority, as his talent for finding the football won’t matter as much if he can’t get on the field. Jones could be a late Day 3 selection, but physical deficiencies are working against him.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 3/Priority UDFA

    • OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

      Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

      Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 6-foot-7

      Weight: 325 pounds

      Experience: 33 starts in four seasons, primarily at left tackle

      Career accolades: All-MVFC First Team (2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Three-year starter at left tackle with outstanding measurables on a low-cut, well-built frame. Penning plays with a level of disgust for anyone lining up against him and seeks out violent block finishes when possible. He’s athletic enough to block on the move and has the potential to shine as a powerful drive blocker. Size, length and know-how have been more than enough to ward off FCS pass rushers, but he needs to operate with better inside-out positioning while developing much firmer edges to succeed against a more talented group of quarterback hunters. Penning has both traits and toughness but the tape can leave you wanting just a little more from him. He should become an instant starter at left or right tackle but the jump in competition will take time to navigate.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-1st round

    • QB D’Eriq King, Miami

      MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 11: D'Eriq King #1 of the Miami Hurricanes looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

      MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 11: D’Eriq King #1 of the Miami Hurricanes looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Pre-draft workout

      Height: 5-foot-9

      Weight: 196 pounds

      2021 production: 3 games, 66.4% completions, 767 yards, 6.3 yards per attempt, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 40 carries, 96 yards

      Career accolades: All-AAC Second-Team (2018)

      Scouting report:¬†“King simply falls too far below the quarterback threshold considering his level of play wasn’t good enough to create an exception for his size. He hasn’t played receiver since 2017 but appeared to be more than capable at the position when asked to play it. He’s well-built for a role as a slot but needs to train for better short-area quickness and route running. His ability to run RPO and zone-read packages could be enticing for teams looking to create as many options as possible for their offense.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Priority UDFA

    • CB/KR Marcus Jones, Houston

      Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Alec Pierce (12) catches a pass in the end zone but is unable to come down with it under pressure from Houston Cougars cornerback Marcus Jones (8) in the second quarter of the American Athletic Conference Championship football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Sam Greene/The Enquirer/USA Today Network)

      Cincinnati Bearcats wide receiver Alec Pierce (12) catches a pass in the end zone but is unable to come down with it under pressure from Houston Cougars cornerback Marcus Jones (8) in the second quarter of the American Athletic Conference Championship football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Sam Greene/The Enquirer/USA Today Network)

      Meeting: Top-30 visit

      Height: 5-foot-8

      Weight: 174 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 47 tackles, 5 INTs, 13 PBUs, 15 kick returns, 34 yards per return, 2 TDs, 26 punt returns, 14.4 yards per return, 2 TDs

      Career accolades: Consensus All-American First Team defensive back (2021), All-AAC First Team returner (2020, 2021), All-AAC Second Team defensive back (2021), AAC Special Teams Player of the Year (2021), Paul Hornung Award (2021), All-Sun Belt Second Team defensive back (2018), All-Sun Belt First Team returner (2018), All-Sun Belt Second Team returner (2017), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Projects as a twitchy, undersized slot cornerback with playmaking traits and game-changing return talent. Jones has the hips and feet to cover slippery slot receivers and the ballhawking instincts to make plays from zone. He can be too reliant on his athletic ability. He needs to play with better discipline and route anticipation as a pro. He can be mismatched against size but he’s plenty scrappy in those battles. Jones’ lack of size will hurt him with some teams while others will elevate his grade thanks to his electric ability on special teams. There could be teams that look to give him reps at receiver, where he would have more big-play opportunities.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 3rd round

    • G Zion Johnson, Boston College

      Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) looks to block against the Colgate Raiders during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      Sep 4, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) looks to block against the Colgate Raiders during the first half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Informal

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 312 pounds

      Experience: 49 starts in five seasons, with 19 at Davidson (2017-2018) and 30 at BC (2019-2021)

      Career accolades: All-American First Team (2021), All-ACC First Team (2021), All-ACC Second Team (2019), All-ACC Third Team (2020), All-PFL First Team (2018), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“The phrase “phone booth guard” was made for Johnson thanks to his wide, girthy frame and immense playing power. Johnson has experience at tackle, but he’s clearly an interior blocker on the next level. He has knock-back pop at the point of attack with the ability to win the block in a test of strength. In space, his limitations become obvious. He’ll need to fit into the right scheme that takes advantage of what he does well and diminishes the athletic limitations. He has a ceiling of starting guard in the NFL, but his ability to deal with the athleticism of NFL defensive linemen on all three downs is a concern both as a run blocker and in pass protection.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 1st round

    • WR Khalil Shakir, Boise State

      Oct 16, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Boise State Broncos wide receiver Khalil Shakir (2) runs the ball against the Air Force Falcons during the second half at Albertsons Stadium. Air Force won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Senior Bowl | NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot

      Weight: 196 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 77 receptions, 1,117 yards, 7 TDs, 9 punt returns, 115 yards

      Career accolades: All-Mountain West First Team (2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“A coach’s dream, combining competitive nature, exciting versatility and elite character on and off the field. For a short-armed player with average explosiveness, Shakir puts an emphatic stamp on games. He’s more football player than prototypical slot receiver and needs to prove he can handle an increase in contested catches. He can be activated from a variety of alignments with the vision, wiggle and toughness to move the chains once the ball is in his hands. He finds a way to frequently show up on the notepad when watching tape and his will to outperform the guy across from him should not be overlooked. Shakir should become a valuable piece for a creative play-caller.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 2-Early Day 3

    • WR Skyy Moore, Western Michigan

      Sep 18, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) runs after a pass reception on is way to scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 5-foot-10

      Weight: 195 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 95 receptions, 1,292 yards, 10 TDs

      Career accolades: All-MAC First Team (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Productive three-year starter with decent athleticism and good ball skills but just average separation potential. Moore is courageous working into the teeth of the defense and tenacious to come up with contested catches from anywhere on the field. He’s a one-note route-runner lacking acceleration out of break points but showed off impressive vertical speed at the NFL Scouting Combine. His ball skills and toughness create opportunities as a reliable target and capable route-runner from release to whistle. His best fit is from the slot, but long-term success will depend on his ability to keep fine-tuning his craft.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Day 2

    • C Cam Jurgens, Nebraska

      LINCOLN, NE – NOVEMBER 16: Offensive lineman Cameron Jurgens #51 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers steps over the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers at Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 303 pounds

      Experience: Started 31 games at center over three years

      Career accolades: All-Big Ten Third Team (2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Center prospect with a lack of desired measurables and position versatility that could cap his draft value. Jurgens is quick with above-average athleticism but needs to harness his energy and play with better control in the early stages of the rep to improve his strike zone and success rate. He’s a bit of a leaner in pass protection and could struggle to find his anchor against rugged bull rushers. He can play in a variety of run schemes but has average backup talent.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 3

    • LB Devin Lloyd, Utah

      SALT LAKE CITY, UT – NOVEMBER 26: Devin Lloyd #0 of the Utah Utes celebrates sacking Brendon Lewis #12 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game November 26, 2021 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 235 pounds

      2021 production: 14 games, 111 tackles (66 solo), 22 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 4 INTs, 6 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR

      Career accolades: All-American First Team (2021), All-Pac-12 First Team (2021, 2020), Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award (2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Highly productive and highly physical, Lloyd could create interesting discussions in draft rooms as teams work through his process versus production. Lloyd can be a little inconsistent with early diagnosis and fit recognition and unorthodox in how he flows to the football. With that said, he has a stat sheet full of production in every major category, including 43 tackles for loss over the last three seasons. He plays with the willful demeanor of an NFL alpha linebacker and is sneaky talented as a rusher either blitzing or aligning off the edge. Lloyd will make plenty of plays and should become a good starter as an inside or strong-side linebacker, but inconsistent process could limit his consistency.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-1st round

    • LB Christian Harris, Alabama

      TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 23: Hendon Hooker #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers tries to ge away from Christian Harris #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 232 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 80 tackles (45 solo), 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 2 FF

      Career accolades: All-SEC Freshman First Team (2019)

      Scouting report:¬†“Long, athletic inside linebacker whose strengths and weaknesses could make him a target for a move outside. Harris’ lack of desired recognition will result in missteps and mistakes that could prove much more costly on the NFL level. However, he could thrive as a chase-and-hit, weakside linebacker, where he can play faster. He can handle some coverage chores but it’s not his strong suit. Harris has the physical attributes and athletic ability to make plays as an eventual starter but he might lack three-down versatility.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Early 2nd round

    • OLB Drake Jackson, USC

      Sep 4, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans linebacker Drake Jackson (99) celebrates after he made an interception in the first half of the game against the San Jose State Spartans at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-4

      Weight: 250 pounds

      2021 production: 10 games, 37 tackles (23solo), 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF, 1 FR

      Career accolades: All-Pac-12 Second Team (2019-2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Jackson lacks play strength but has the frame to add muscle and mass. He’s a loose-limbed, restless pass rusher with the activity level to find angles and openings in both his primary and secondary rush. However, he lacks successful counters to do it consistently against stronger tackles. Jackson also lacks the take-on toughness and functional anchor needed to hold up at the point on run downs. He has developmental rush potential, but needs a major upgrade in grit and technique against the run.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 2nd round

    • ILB Quay Walker, Georgia

      Dec 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Quay Walker (7) tackles Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) during the third quarter in the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-4

      Weight: 240 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 65 tackles (37 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 FR

      Career accolades: Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Walker had to wait his turn at Georgia, but he has become a well-schooled, instinctive linebacker ready for the NFL game. He has good size and clear eyes from the second level, with a talent for recognizing play design. He plays disciplined, team-oriented football but is unlikely to become a top-level playmaker as a pro. His chase speed and body control are just average when ranging to tackle or covering in space. Walker is dependable and consistent and projects as a good backup with eventual starter potential at inside linebacker.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-Day 2

    • ILB Chad Muma, Wyoming

      Feb 2, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National squad linebacker Chad Muma of Wyoming (48) sets up for a play during National team practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 241 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 142 tackles (83 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 1 FR

      Career accolades: All-American Third Team (2021), All-Mountain West First Team (2020, 2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football but his methodology for getting there will need an upgrade to earn NFL playing time. He falls prey to false steps and wasted motion at times. He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor. Patience and leverage are below average when fitting up inside runs and flowing to outside runs. He needs to improve at slipping and taking on blocks if he’s going to play inside. Muma profiles as a backup inside/strong-side linebacker with four-phase special teams talent that should lock him into a roster spot as a Day 3 selection.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Mid-Day 2

    • ILB Troy Andersen, Montana State

      Feb 2, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National squad linebacker Troy Andersen of Montana State (45) talks with National squad linebacker Sterling Weatherford of Miami (OH) (12) during National team practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 242 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 147 tackles (83 solo), 14 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 7 PBUs, 1 FR

      Career accolades: FCS All-American First Team (2021), Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year (2021), All-Big Sky First Team linebacker (2019, 2021), All-Big Sky First Team quarterback (2018), Big Sky Freshman of the Year (2017, as a running back), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Intriguing ‘do-everything’ prospect with unusual versatility that could see him getting reps in all three phases. Andersen has good size and toughness with the ball in his hands, but he’s transitioned to a full-time linebacker role. However, he’s still inexperienced at the position, which shows in his instincts and technique at that spot. Despite those concerns, he was an extremely productive playmaker, using his physical tools and motor to shine. Teams will likely look to grow Andersen’s linebacker IQ while playing him as a core special-teamer, but he might have potential on packaged plays on offense.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Day 2

    • ILB Aaron Hansford, Texas A&M

      COLLEGE STATION, TX – SEPTEMBER 18: Linebacker Aaron Hansford #1 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a stop during the first quarter of the game against New Mexico Lobos at Kyle Field on September 18, 2021 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine | Senior Bowl

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 239 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 89 tackles (45 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 PBUs, 2 FR

      Career accolades: Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“Athletic inside linebacker who might require a more attack-oriented scheme that allows him to play faster and with less reservation. Hansford failed to use his 2020 season as a springboard into bigger and better things in 2021. He has speed to range from sideline to sideline and is a fundamentally sound tackler who won’t let many slip from his grasp. His blitz potential should not be discounted and he clearly has the traits to become a more robust playmaker. However, the difference between starter and backup will be rooted in whether or not he can do a better job of diagnosing blocking schemes and play with better trigger quickness.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 3rd-Early 4th round

       

    • RB Kyren Williams, Notre Dame

      Sep 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams (23) gains yardage during the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 5-foot-9

      Weight: 194 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 204 carries, 1,002 yards, 4.9 yards/carry, 14 TDs, 42 receptions, 359 yards, 3 TDs

      Career accolades: All-ACC Second Team (2020), ACC Rookie of the Year (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“Fiery team leader and combative runner who leaves it all out on the field. Williams has been a worker bee with a willingness to do the heavy lifting on all three downs and has premium third-down talent both in blitz pickup and as a route-runner out of the backfield. The Patriots’ usage of James White, Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden might be the blueprint for how to utilize Williams in the NFL.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 3rd round

    • WR Treylon Burks, Arkansas

      FAYETTEVILLE, AR – NOVEMBER 21: Treylon Burks #16 of the Arkansas Razorbacks catches a pass for a touchdown in the first half of a game against the LSU Tigers at Razorback Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 225 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 66 receptions, 1,104 yards, 11 TDs, 14 carries, 112 yards, TD

      Career accolades: All-SEC First Team (2021), All-SEC Second Team (2019, 2020) SEC All-Freshman Team (2019)

      Scouting report:¬†“Big, smooth and natural, Burks possesses the versatility to operate from wherever you want and get to wherever you need no matter the competition. He’s a mismatch receiver combining size, strength and competitiveness similar to the Titans’ A.J. Brown, but appears to be faster and more athletic. Arkansas benefitted by putting the ball in his hands from a variety of alignments and there is no reason to believe NFL play-callers won’t benefit from doing the same. For as talented as Burks is today, he’s likely to keep getting better. He will require specific game-planning for defenses operating without a true CB1 and has the potential to star as a high-volume, three-level target who can start and produce in his rookie season.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 1st round

    • WR Jameson Williams, Alabama

      Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) reacts as he scores on a long touchdown pass against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot-1

      Weight: 179 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 79 receptions, 1,572 yards, 15 TDs, 10 kick returns, 352 yards, 2 TDs

      Career accolades: All-American First Team (2021), All-SEC First Team (2021), SEC Co-Special Teams Player of the Year (2021)

      Scouting report:¬†“Linear route-runner with electric long speed to impact a game as a home-run hitter or decoy drawing defenders away from other elements of the offense. Williams ruins man coverage but faces some limitations. He has issues getting off press cleanly and might require some scheming to help get off the mark cleanly against certain corners. Catch toughness can be inconsistent when contested or in heavily trafficked areas. He has all the juice to find consistent separation on vertical, over and post/corner routes and could see monstrous production if paired with a high-end talent at quarterback. The ACL tear could play a role in determining his ultimate draft destination, but it’s unlikely to change his game.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 1st round

    • WR Chris Olave, Ohio State

      Oct 9, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2)runs after catch during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 6-foot

      Weight: 187 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 65 receptions, 936 yards, 13 TDs

      Career accolades: All-American Second Team (2021), All-Big Ten First Team (2020, 2021), All-Big Ten Third Team (2019)

      Scouting report:¬†“The quiet storm of the Ohio State wide receiver corps, Olave is smooth, steady and makes things happen. His movements are fluid and easy from snap to the catch and all points between. He’s fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels. Olave possesses natural, well-rounded ball skills but needs to add play strength to ward off the physical challenges that are headed his way. His play traits should allow for success beyond the scheme and talent advantages surrounding him at Ohio State. He is an inside/outside hybrid appealing to offenses looking for a field-stretcher with the ability to take on a sizable catch load.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 1st round

    • WR John Metchie, Alabama

      TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 06: John Metchie III #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pulls in this touchdown reception against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 06, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine | Top-30 visit

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 187 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 96 receptions, 1,142 yards, 8 TDs

      Career accolades: All-SEC Second Team (2021), Jon Cornish Trophy (2020)

      Scouting report:¬†“NFL slot projection with good polish but a lack of noteworthy elements in his game. Metchie has decent size but average play speed. He’s proficient in more sophisticated routes but lacks explosiveness to separate and will have to prove he can become a more physical wideout to win contested catches at the pro level. He can play multiple receiver spots and has the ability to take what the scheme provides him. As long as his recovery from an ACL tear goes smoothly, Metchie has a chance to become a starting slot receiver with a relatively modest ceiling.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Day 2

    • WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky

      ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 16: WanDale Robinson #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats rushes in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      Meeting: NFL Combine

      Height: 5-foot-8

      Weight: 178 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 104 receptions, 1,334 yards, 7 TDs, 7 carries, 111 yards

      Career accolades: All-SEC Second Team (2021), Citrus Bowl MVP (2022)

      Scouting report:¬†“Robinson will be tabbed as a slot receiver but that is underselling his potential. He’s sudden and slick with an ability to make plays from a variety of alignments. He has gadget potential and can function as a dump-and-run target, acting as an extension of the running game. A lack of length and play strength could be a concern until he tightens up the route-running to prevent contested catches. He’s much lighter than Deebo Samuel, but the competitiveness, acceleration and run-after-catch talent could have teams eyeing a somewhat similar usage for Robinson in the future.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 2nd-Early 3rd round

    • WR Slade Bolden, Alabama

      Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Slade Bolden (18) catches a pass in the second half the NCAA Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Cincinnati Bearcats 27-6. (Credit: Albert Cesare/The Enquirer/USA Today Network)

      Meeting: NFL Combine | Pre-draft workout

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 194 pounds

      2021 production: 15 games, 42 receptions, 408 yards, 3 TDs

      Scouting report:¬†“Slot target who will catch and gain what is available but is unlikely to do much beyond that. Bolden has adequate quickness for the Alabama scheme but isn’t an explosive separator. He has the hands and toughness to work in the middle of the field but will see diminishing catch windows the further he gets from the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t have the speed or catch radius to help inaccurate passers and he doesn’t appear to have enough talent to shine outside of the Alabama juggernaut.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late Day 3

    • WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State

      Feb 5, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National Squad wide receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State (1) runs with the ball in the first half against the American squad during the Senior bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Senior Bowl

      Height: 6-foot-5

      Weight: 208 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 43 receptions, 801 yards, 7 TDs, 15 carries, 125 yards, TD, 10 kick returns, 227 yards

      Career accolades: FCS All-America First Team (2020), FCS All-America Second Team (2021), All-MVFC First Team (2020-2021), All-MVFC Second Team (2019), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report:¬†“A receiver prospect with intriguing measurables and a strong belief in the team aspect of the game, Watson possesses an alluring combination of size and speed. He showed off improved route running and catch strength in 2021. He is much more gifted than his opposition was at NDSU and needs to prove he can elevate his game against bigger, faster players at the next level. He plays hard and fast but needs to add a few more pounds and learn to impose his frame on the coverage. He’s a field-stretching option requiring a linear route tree and projects as a capable WR3/4 with more work.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 3rd-early 4th round

    • WR Romeo Doubs, Nevada

      Nov 13, 2021; Carson, California, USA; Nevada Wolf Pack wide receiver Romeo Doubs (7) catches a pass for a touchdown against the San Diego State Aztecs during the second half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Senior Bowl | NFL Combine | Top-30

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 204 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 80 receptions, 1,109 yards, 11 TDs, 12 kick returns, 170 yards

      Career accolades: All-Mountain West First Team (2020, 2021), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report: “Will check the boxes for height, weight and speed, but tightness in his lower half limits the upside. Doubs has been a productive, high-volume target with speed to separate deep but he’s a linear route-runner who will struggle to elude NFL press and separate from tight man coverage over the first two levels. His toughness, ball skills and special teams potential increase his chances of earning a backup role.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 3rd-early 4th round

    • WR Kyle Phillips, UCLA

      EUGENE, OREGON – NOVEMBER 21: Kyle Phillips #2 of the UCLA Bruins runs with the ball as Deommodre Lenoir closes in during the first half of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 21, 2020 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Shrine Bowl

      Height: 5-foot-11

      Weight: 186 pounds

      2021 production: 11 games, 59 receptions, 739 yards, 10 TDs, 9 punt returns, 203 yards, TD

      Career accolades: All-Pac-12 First Team, receiver (2021), All-Pac-12 Second Team, returner (2021)

      Scouting report: “Slot receiver with limited range but above-average potential as a punt-return option. Philips has the foot quickness to elude press and uncover underneath but his effectiveness wanes over the second and third levels. He needs to improve his route efficiency to prove he can separate from nickel corners in the pros and must improve as a hands-catcher. Philips’ talent to create for himself and his team as a return man gives him a shot to make a club.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Late 3rd round

    • DL Boye Mafe, Minnesota

      PHOENIX, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Jarret Doege #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers is sacked by defensive lineman Boye Mafe #34 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the first half of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field on December 28, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

      Meeting: Senior Bowl

      Height: 6-foot-3

      Weight: 255 pounds

      2021 production: 12 games, 34 tackles (6 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 1 FF

      Career accolades: All-Big Ten Second Team (2021), All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (2020), Senior Bowl

      Scouting report: “Mafe’s evaluation requires the evaluator to focus more closely on the flashes than just the play-to-play action. His combination of rare explosive measurables with average fundamentals could make for a perfect storm of rapid development once he gets focused skill work at the pro level. His footwork is average and he lacks desired instincts as a rusher, but pairing efficient hand work with twitchy upper-body power could turn him into a productive rush bully. He has the traits and toughness to develop into an above-average starter as a 4-3 base end.” (Source)

      Projected pick: 3rd round

    • TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland

      Sep 4, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Maryland Terrapins tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (9) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

      Meeting: Shrine Bowl

      Height: 6-foot-2

      Weight: 238 pounds

      2021 production: 13 games, 52 receptions, 447 yards, 5 TDs

      Career accolades: All-Big Ten honorable mention (2021)

      Scouting report: “Muscular, short-armed tight end with explosive athletic traits who could make for a challenging projection. Okonkwo has the physical tools to become better as a route runner and blocker, but he’s still very raw in both facets. He’s talented after the catch but his hands are very average and he’s still in the developmental phase, so finding a way to get the ball in his hands could be tough early on. He’s not long enough to be a consistent in-line blocker so a move to H-back, or even fullback, would play to his strengths and give him the best chance to succeed, provided he can improve his move-blocking prowess.” (Source)

      Projected pick: Day 3

    • Note: This is a running list, and will be updated as more meetings become public.

    More from 985TheSportsHub.com…

    Patriots draft preview: Offensive line

    • Recent history tells us the odds are high the Patriots select at least one offensive lineman in this year’s NFL Draft. They’ve done so in 17 of the 22 drafts under Bill Belichick, including each of the last eight. There’s been 14 occasions where they’ve taken multiple linemen, including six times in the last eight years.

      On top of that, both tackle and guard are needs in the short and long term. The departures of Shaq Mason and Ted Karras leave at least one immediate need at guard (Michael Onwenu projects to fill the other spot), as well as less depth overall at the position. At tackle, Isaiah Wynn is entering a contract year and Trent Brown has struggled to stay healthy. It’s hard to project either into a long-term role right now.

      The Patriots are in the early stages of what could be a rework of the offensive line, and this draft could lay the foundation for that reset. All of that considered, this will be our deepest positional preview yet. Let’s go through the big names and some deeper players who stand out as fits for the Patriots.

    • Reaches

      Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      Offensive line is not a position the Patriots generally move up for in the draft. They’ve had so much success developing players at the position – even after the retirement of long time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia – that it simply makes more sense for them to let the board come to them, and find the most coachable players with a high floor fall to them.

      That being said, it’s been a trend-breaking couple of years for the Patriots. Is this the year they fly up the board to grab one of the elite blockers in the draft?

      There are three tackles currently expected to go in the top 10 in Alabama’s¬†Evan Neal, North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, and Mississippi State’s¬†Charles Cross. All have franchise left tackle potential, and it would take a significant investment from the Patriots to get any of the three.

      On the interior,¬†Tyler Linderbaum¬†of Iowa is the top player in this class. His primary position is center, where the Patriots have David Andrews locked up for three more years. However, it’s not unrealistic to think Linderbaum could play some guard as well. He’s expected to go in the middle of the first round.

    • First-round tackles

      Feb 1, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan (76) works with a coach during National practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Feb 1, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann of Central Michigan (76) works with a coach during National practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

      Left tackle has been an incredibly sturdy position for the Patriots under Belichick. Outside of injury situations, just three players have held the spot down in New England since 2000 in Matt Light, Nate Solder, and Isaiah Wynn. Part of the reason the Patriots have had that stability is planning ahead at the position. With Wynn in a contract year, is it time to get ahead of things again?

      The three players who have held the spot all had a number of things in common. They were all high draft picks (Solder and Wynn went in the first round, Light early in the second), and were all Senior Bowl participants. As luck would have it, there are two left tackles expected to go in the first round this year that fit that mold.

      Trevor Penning¬†of Northern Iowa has seen his stock shoot up since his strong Senior Bowl performance that ended with him being voted Offensive Lineman of the Week for his team. Penning moves well at 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, and plays with a mean aggression at the point of attack. Right now, it feels like a 50/50 shot he’s on the board at 21.

      If Penning does go just before the Patriots pick,¬†Bernhard Raimann¬†of Central Michigan is a similar player stylistically who is a late-first to early-second round talent. A converted tight end (like Nate Solder), Raimann isn’t as big at 6-foot-6, 303 pounds but is one of the most athletic tackles in this draft. Being new to the position, his skillset is still relatively raw, but his strength and athleticism hint at tremendous upside. With Wynn still under contract, the team should be able to let him continue to develop for a year behind the scenes.

    • First-round guards

      Nov 20, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      Nov 20, 2021; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Boston College Eagles offensive lineman Zion Johnson (77) against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

      While the need at tackle is a two-year projection, the need for a starting guard is immediate. There are a handful of players currently on the roster expected to compete for the job in camp, but if the Patriots were to add a blue chip prospect he’d likely immediately become the favorite to win the competition.

      There are two versatile guards expected to go in the 20’s in Boston College’s¬†Zion Johnson¬†and Texas A&M’s Kenyon Green. Both project as fits for the Patriots.

      Johnson is on the smaller side for the guard position at 6-foot-3, 312 pounds, yet it pops how physical he is at the point of attack. Often, Johnson is driving his assignment back as much as he’d holding them up. After two years at Davidson, where he played left tackle, Johnson transferred to BC. He played one season at tackle with the Eagles, then moved inside to guard where he was named to an All-ACC team in 2020 and 2021.

      Between not picking up football until high school (he was a zero-star recruit) and moving positions, Johnson still has a lot of room to grow his game. Given the floor he’s working with coming out of college, that makes him a very exciting prospect.

      Green is a combo guard who is on the bigger side at 6-foot-4, 323 pounds. A former five-star recruit, his game is very technically sound after making 35 starts for the Aggies over three years. He moves well for his size, and that athleticism would play well as a left guard in the Patriots’ offense. Like Johnson, he plays the game as a mauler and can move defenders just as easily as he can simply block them.

    • Second round

      LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 18: Darian Kinnard #70 of the Kentucky Wildcats against Chattanooga Mocs at Kroger Field on September 18, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

      LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – SEPTEMBER 18: Darian Kinnard #70 of the Kentucky Wildcats against Chattanooga Mocs at Kroger Field on September 18, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

      From here on out, we’re going to combine tackles and guards and just sort by different ranges in the draft. At this point, there’s a handful of players that can be considered for both spots, and may be viewed as tackles by some teams or guards by others. Those are the kind of players the Patriots generally target, looking for guys who can play three or four different positions to boost depth without using up too many roster spots.

      That being said, let’s begin here with Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard. Kinnard played right tackle for Kentucky’s successful run-heavy offense, but his skillset may be better suited for guard in the NFL. His Combine weigh in (6-foot-5, 322 pounds) showed he’s lost some weight since the season, and he may be preparing for that to be his role. If he is indeed going to be a guard, he projects to be an NFL-ready space-clearer in the running game, with the potential to come along as a pass blocker.

      Tyler Smith out of Tulsa is another player who could play right tackle or on the interior, but when it comes to the Patriots he would likely be a right guard. At 6-foot-5, 324 pounds he’s described as ‘nasty’ and a ‘tone setter.’ If anything, he may be too aggressive right now, but with the right coaching he projects as a starting caliber player, who can contribute as a three-position backup right away.

      In terms of pure tackles,¬†Daniel Faalele¬†from Minnesota is one of the more interesting prospects in this draft. He’s absolutely massive, checking in at the Combine at 6-foot-8, 384 pounds. Coming from Australia, he’s only played the sport since 2016 so his game is still raw, but his upside is as big as he is. Given the Patriots’ current tackle situation, they could afford to give him a redshirt year and coach him up, if they don’t mind a delayed return-on-investment on a top-60 pick.

      The other high-risk, high-reward tackle in this range is Nicholas Petit-Frere of out Ohio State. Petit-Frere flashed NFL-caliber ability at times for the Buckeyes, but not consistently enough to earn a first-round grade. He’s a smaller (6-foot-5, 316 pounds), more athletic tackle who would need to put on a bit of mass at the next level, but still would project as a left tackle in New England.

    • Third round

      ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 16: Jamaree Salyer #69 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a touchdown is scored in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 16: Jamaree Salyer #69 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after a touchdown is scored in the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      If the Patriots are looking to find their starting guard in the draft with a value pick, they could target Dylan Parham out of Memphis. Parham may fall a bit because of his size (6-foot-3, 311 pounds), but his game is so technically sound, he should be able to close the gap once he gets in an NFL weight room. A four-year starter for the Tigers, Parham has had no issues as a run blocker and continues to develop in pass pro.

      At tackle Washington State’s Abraham Lucas¬†is more of a project player. At 6-foot-6, 315 pounds he’s built like a left tackle in terms of the Patriots’ system but plays like a right tackle, his college position. That true swing-tackle versatility can be hard to find, which could increase his value even if a team doesn’t project him to reach his ceiling.

      Now back to the multi-positional linemen, starting with¬†Jamaree Salyer of Georgia. Salyer played all five offensive line positions at Georgia, and projects to be a combo guard with right tackle flexibility in the NFL. He already plays at an NFL size at 6-foot-3, 321 pounds. Salyer is at his best as a pass blocker, as he showed in the Bulldogs’ CFB semifinal game against Michigan when he played a key role in stonewalling projected first-round pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

      Sean Rhyan¬†was a three-year starter at left tackle for UCLA, and projects to functionally play the position in the NFL, but his real upside appears to be at guard. Ryan’s size (6-foot-5, 321 pounds), strong footwork, and experience playing on the outside could make him a very effective puller at guard. The Patriots could also use him as a hybrid guard and third tackle, similar to the role Michael Onwenu had last year.

       

    • Early Day 3

      UL sophomore Max Mitchell (74) playing left tackle in a game against Mississippi State at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Michael O. Curley/Special to the Advertiser, Morristown Daily Record via Imagn Content Services)

      UL sophomore Max Mitchell (74) playing left tackle in a game against Mississippi State at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Michael O. Curley/Special to the Advertiser, Morristown Daily Record via Imagn Content Services)

      Now we’re getting into the sweet spot for the Patriots. Of the 36 linemen drafted by the Patriots since Belichick arrived in 2000, 27 were selected beyond the 99th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted three linemen in the top 100 in the last 10 years (Isaiah Wynn 23rd overall in 2018, Antonio Garcia 85th overall in 2017, and Joe Thuney 78th overall in 2016).

      Cole Strange of Chattanooga offers three-position versality from left tackle to center. He was primarily a left guard in college, but got plenty of work snapping at the Senior Bowl. His football IQ and instincts could make him a potential four-position backup at the next level, with room to grow into a starting guard. However, teams will be weary of the fact he turns 24 before the season starts, which could limit his ceiling.

      At tackle, Max Mitchell has the makings of a true swing tackle. A four-year contributor at Louisiana, Mitchell seemed to play his best against Power Five opponents. He moves very well for a lineman, but the question will be how that translates after he adds the size needed at the pro level (he measured 6-foot-6, 307 pounds at the combine).

    • Late Day 3

      Purdue linebacker Kieren Douglas (43) is blocked by Illinois offensive lineman Vederian Lowe (79) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. (Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

      Purdue linebacker Kieren Douglas (43) is blocked by Illinois offensive lineman Vederian Lowe (79) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. (Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

      Starting with the versatile linemen again, and it doesn’t get much more versatile in this draft than Tennessee’s¬†Cade Mays. Mays has logged significant playing time at all five offensive line positions in a collegiate career split between two programs (he transferred from Georgia before the 2020 season). He has the experience to be a backup guard and center Day 1 in the NFL, with a chance to develop into a starting guard if he can improve his footwork.

      NFL teams will always a room for high IQ, high-motor players, especially on the offensive line. That should help Tulsa’s¬†Chris Paul, who is yet another college tackle projected to switch to guard at the next level. Paul’s size (6-foot-4, 323 pounds) and and hard-nosed playing style would be right at home on the interior of the Patriots’ offensive line, and he could have starter upside working with the coaching staff in New England.

      Cam Jurgens was a three-year starter at center at Nebraska, and should offer some guard versatility. Last season, Belichick touted the pre-snap communication advantage gained by having two true centers (Andrews and Karras) on the field at the same time. Taking a true center like Jurgens Рwho the Patriots met with in the pre-draft process Рgiven his experience making calls at the line of scrimmage and converting him to guard could replicate that effect.

      The Patriots have a history of targeting players who show tremendous growth throughout their collegiate careers. That could lead them to¬†Vederian Lowe¬†out of Illinois. Lowe made great strides under former Patriots assistant coach Bret Bielema in 2021, with more room to improve his game. He’s a swing tackle prospect with higher upside on the left side. Late on Day 3, Lowe is exactly the kind of project player teams look for.

      Last time the Patriots took a Michigan lineman late on Day 3, they ended up with a steal in Michael Onwenu. The lone Michigan lineman expected to go in this draft,¬†Andrew Stueber, is also projected to go in that range. A 6-foot-7, 325 pound right tackle, Stueber’s technique and physicality help make up for a relative lack of athleticism. He could come into the league and be a backup-caliber tackle quickly.

    • UDFAs

      Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tackle Chris Owens (79) in action against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

      Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tackle Chris Owens (79) in action against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

      Evan Neal may be out of the Patriots’ reach, but there’s another Alabama lineman they could grab late in the draft or as a priority UDFA.¬†Chris Owens¬†was a six-year player and three-year starter for the Tide, playing snaps at tackle, guard, and center. He’ll bring that versatility to an NFL depth chart.

      At tackle,¬†Ryan Van Demark¬†was a four-year starter at UConn, playing three seasons at left tackle. He’s got the upper body push to contribute as a run blocker at 6-foot-5, 302 pounds, and will benefit from NFL coaches helping with his footwork. Van Demark was a team captain in 2021.

      James Empey¬†out of BYU is primarily a center, but should be a center/guard in the NFL. A four-year starter, Empey is a technically sound player who’s strength is in run blocking. However, his lack of athleticism limits his ceiling. His dad Mike also played at BYU was was the team’s offensive line coach early in James’ career.