New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Feb 2, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National squad wide receiver Bo Melton of Rutgers (18) runs the ball after a catch during National team practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 Senior Bowl is now in the books. Teams had four days to evaluate the 130-plus players between three practices during the week, then the game itself on Saturday.

As mentioned a number of times this week, the Patriots put plenty of stock in the Senior Bowl when it comes to preparing for the draft. Just under 40 percent of all of their draft picks since 2008 played in the game.

Who from this year’s game will be added to that list? Here’s a look at some of the top players from Mobile this week who could find their way onto the Patriots’ draft board…

  • WR Bo Melton, Rutgers

    Feb 2, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National squad wide receiver Bo Melton of Rutgers (18) runs the ball after a catch during National team practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

    None of the consensus top receivers were at the Senior Bowl, so it was a great chance for the non-top 50 prospects at the position to make a statement. Nobody jumped at that chance more than Bo Melton of Rutgers, who shined both in practice and in the game.

    Melton entered the week as a potential Day 3 pick with special teams upside. However, he showed plenty of skill from the slot and outside, regularly winning one-on-ones. In the game, he caught two passes for 18 yards and had a 15-yard punt return.

  • OT Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

    AMES, IA – SEPTEMBER 4: Head coach Mark Farley of the Northern Iowa Panthers coaches offensive lineman Trevor Penning #70 of the Northern Iowa Panthers on the sidelines in the first half of play against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium on September 4, 2021 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

    The Patriots are always in the market to take a tackle in the first round – especially this year with Trent Brown a pending free agent and Isaiah Wynn entering the final year of his deal. There were a group of three projected late-first round tackles that came into this week looking to separate their stock from the group. Those three included Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.

    Penning came away the clear winner. Although he struggled at times early on, he finished each day strong and finished the week strong as a whole. Facing FBS talent regularly for the first time, he bullied the majority of his matchups – as expected at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds – and displayed quite the mean streak when finishing his blocks. Penning was voted the Offensive Lineman of the Week for the National team – an award chosen by his defensive counterparts.

  • DL Travis Jones, UConn

    Feb 2, 2022; Mobile, AL, USA; National offensive lineman Cole Strange of Tennessee-Chattanooga (69) spars with National defensive lineman Travis Jones of Connecticut (57) during National practice for the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL, USA.
    Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

    If the Patriots are in the market for a true nose tackle, Travis Jones could be the guy. Measuring in at 6-foot-4, 326 pounds the UConn product looks the part. Coming into the week, the question was what kind of tape he could put together.

    Jones proved to be a problem on the interior the entire week, both in practices and games. He looks like he’ll be ready for a role as a primary run stopper right away in the NFL.

  • DL Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

    Oct 9, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey (8) pressures Texas Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson (11) during the game at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Jones wasn’t the only defensive lineman to improve his draft stock in Mobile this week. Oklahoma’s Perrion Winfrey was already considered the player of the week off of what he showed in practice alone, but followed that up by winning game MVP with two sacks and three tackles for a loss.

    Unlike Jones, Winfrey is a (relatively) smaller, more athletic defensive lineman at 6-foot-3, 303 pounds. In the Patriots’ system, he could likely line up in a number of spots along the defensive line. If the team wants to pair Christian Barmore with a similar type of player on the interior, Winfrey would make a lot of sense.

  • Honorable mentions

    STATE COLLEGE, PA – DECEMBER 12: Jesse Luketa #40 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after a play against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at Beaver Stadium on December 12, 2020 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

    Here’s a few other players that stood out who might make sense for the Patriots that didn’t make the top five…

    • WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
    • WR Calvin Austin III, Memphis
    • OLB Jesse Luketa, Penn State
    • S J.T. Woods, Baylor
    • P Jordan Stout, Penn State

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