New England Patriots

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 13: Nick Cross #3 of the Maryland Terrapins intercepts a pass thrown by Payton Thorne #10 of the Michigan State Spartans during an untimed down to end the first half at Spartan Stadium on November 13, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
  • After sending a large contingency to the Alabama Pro Day on Wednesday, the Patriots’ staff has been spread out at a number of Pro Days to end the penultimate week of workouts. That includes personnel coordinator Brian Smith, who was in attendance at Maryland’s Pro Day on Thursday according to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry.

    Maryland’s draft class isn’t a big one, with seven players from the team working out in College Park. Only two are expected to be drafted, but they were two of the most impressive testers at the Combine last month. Could either make their way to New England?

  • S Nick Cross

    NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 29: Nick Cross #3 of the Maryland Terrapins sacks Connor Blumrick #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies forcing a fumble during the fourth quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 29, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

    If the Patriots are going to lean into the whole ‘positionless secondary’ thing, then Cross would make a lot of sense and is expected to go towards the end of Day 2. He played a variety of roles for Maryland, lining up at both free safety and in the box for the Terrapins, as well as taking snaps at linebacker and slot corner. The coaching staff trusted him with a range of assignments from stopping the run to rushing the quarterback to covering large zones on the back end.

    Cross is a willing, physical tackler in the run game, and has good ball skills in coverage. On top of that, he’s an excellent athlete. Cross had the best 40 (4.34 seconds) of all safeties at the Combine, and finished top five in both the vertical (37″) and broad (10’10”) jumps.

  • TE Chigoziem Okonkwo

    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

    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. Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

    Okonkwo was one of the players profiled in yesterday’s tight end positional preview. At 6-foot-2, 238 pounds he projects as more of a move tight end who is a threat with the ball in his hands. He ran the fastest 40 (4.52 seconds) and had the second-highest vertical (35.5″) of all the tight ends at the combine.

    With Jakob Johnson now in Las Vegas, is now the time for the Patriots to add that H-back role to their offense? If so, Okonkwo could be a candidate for the role on Day 3 of the draft.

  • Other workouts

    May 31, 2021; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Maryland attack Jared Bernhardt (1) moves the ball against Virginia during the first half in the 2021 NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    May 31, 2021; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Maryland attack Jared Bernhardt (1) moves the ball against Virginia during the first half in the 2021 NCAA D1 Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    The Terrapins had five other players take part in the workout, all projected UDFAs. They are running back Tayon Fleet-Davis, defensive linemen Sam Okuayinonu and Lawtez Rogers, defensive back Jordan Mosley, and kicker Joseph Petrino.

    Sometimes at Power Five Pro Days, prospects from smaller schools will join the workouts to gain exposure. That was the case on Thursday, with Division-II Ferris State quarterback Jared Bernhardt on the field as well. While Bernhardt isn’t expected to be drafted and may not even end up in an NFL training camp, his background is one that would likely attract the Patriots’ attention.

    Before joining Ferris State as the Bulldogs’ quarterback for their undefeated national championship season, Bernhardt had spent five years at Maryland – playing lacrosse. He didn’t just play either, he was dominant. Maryland has traditionally been a lacrosse powerhouse, but he re-wrote the record books setting new schools records in just about every major career and single-season statistical category. In 2021 he was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to the best player in the nation each season.

    On top of all of that, Bernhardt also comes from a football family. His dad Jim was a long-time football coach, and worked for former Patriots assistant Bill O’Brien both at Penn State and with the Houston Texans.

    Bernhardt worked out as a quarterback, receiver, and defensive back at the Pro Day. He told reporters after the workout he’s open to playing any position on the field. His best way onto a roster would be through versatility, especially if he shows he can contribute on special teams.

  • Other Pro Day breakdowns

    Georgia
    Alabama
    Penn State
    Florida
    Boise State
    Tulsa
    Western Kentucky

    Bill Belichick in attendance at highly anticipated Pro Day

    • Georgia’s 2022 Pro Day isn’t just one of the most anticipated of this draft cycle, but perhaps among the most in recent memory. The defending National Champion Bulldogs are currently projected to have 12 picks in the top 100, most of them from the team’s record-setting defense.

      There’s been a number of players from Georgia linked to the Patriots in this draft cycle. Now, that speculation should only ramp up after Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia, and Matt Groh were in attendance for the workouts. That trio represents arguably the Patriots’ three biggest decision-makers.

      In recent years, Belichick has drawn heavily from the Georgia program. The Patriots took two Bulldogs in the first round in 2018 in tackle Isaiah Wynn and running back Sony Michel. There was also a Georgia product among the team’s captains last year in center David Andrews, who was signed as a UDFA in 2015.

      Who could be joining the Athens-to-Foxborough pipeline in 2022? Here’s a look at the (long) list of Georgia’s top prospects in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft…

    • DL Jordan Davis

      Nov 27, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) in action against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

      Davis was the star of the NFL Combine after crushing the physical testing – including a 4.78 second 40 – at 6-foot-6, 341 pounds. While some have speculated that he could fall in the draft as teams devalue the nose tackle position, his Combine showed what his tape suggested – that he is more than just a two-down player. As the draft approaches it feels less and less likely he’ll be there when the Patriots pick at 21st overall, but it’s not impossible.

    • DE Travon Walker

      ATHENS, GA – NOVEMBER 06: Travon Walker #44 of the Georgia Bulldogs sacks Tyler Macon #10 of the Missouri Tigers in the second half at Sanford Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

      Walker is another elite athlete who ran a 4.51 40 at 6-foot-5, 272 pounds. He’s the kind of edge defender the Patriots tend to look for, especially given what he can do against the run. Like Davis, it’s a longshot he’s on the board at 21.

    • LB Nakobe Dean

      ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 02: 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)

      Dean is one of the more intriguing first round players in this draft. He’s already shown NFL-level talent, great football instincts and IQ, and is a tremendous athlete. Yet as a 5-foot-11, 229 pound middle linebacker, hits fits in terms of NFL teams may be limited to specific schemes. That could cause him to fall in the draft, but at the same time if a team that is a fit likes him, he could be a top 20 talent.

      When it comes to the Patriots – who are looking for more athletic linebackers – Dean certainly checks some boxes. Yet to go from 260 pound linebackers to 230 pound linebackers would be quite the jump and may require some schematic changes to the defense. For instance, based on the current scheme Dean is built more like a Patriots’ safety. For reference, Kyle Dugger is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds.

    • DE Devonte Wyatt

      NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 25: Devonte Wyatt #95 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first quarter at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

      Another star of the Bulldogs’ defensive line, Wyatt is a disruptive defensive tackle that can create pressure up the middle. At 6-foot-3, 304 pounds, he could likely play as a 3-4 end as well. He’s currently projected to go in the second half of the first round.

    • S Lewis Cine

      Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Lewis Cine (16) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      On one hand, Cine is the kind of physical box safety that the Patriots tend to target. On the other hand, would they use a premium add to that position with two established starters already in place in Dugger and Adrian Phillips? Cine is currently projected to be a second-round pick. Cine has local ties – he played his first three years of high school football at Everett High and was named Massachusetts Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.

    • WR George Pickens

      ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 01: George Pickens #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs makes a catch for a first quarter touchdown against Bryan Cook #6 of of the Cincinnati Bearcats during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham /Getty Images)

      Pickens is Georgia’s top offensive player in this class. He’s struggled with injuries and played just 12 games over the last two years. Still, when he’s been on the field he’s been a productive deep threat averaging 15 yards per catch and 14 career touchdowns on just 90 catches.

      If the Patriots are looking for a replacement for Nelson Agholor, he could make sense in the second round – assuming everything checks out medically. At the same time, if the injuries cause him to fall he could find himself in a situation similar to a former Georgia Bulldog receiver, Malcolm Mitchell.

    • LB Quay Walker

      Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is sacked by Georgia linebacker Quay Walker during the second half of U-M’s 34-11 loss in the Orange Bowl on Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida.

      While many Patriots fans have focused on Dean, Walker may be the best overall fit for the Patriots not just at linebacker, but of any player off the Georgia defense this year. At 6-foot-4, 241 pounds he has the build to handle the downhill responsibilities that come with the inside linebacker role in New England, but has the athleticism to move sideline-to-sideline as well. He’s currently projected to be a Day 2 pick.

    • CB Derion Kendrick

      A pass to Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) in the end zone is broken up by Georgia defensive back Derion Kendrick (11) and Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine (16) during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Georgia at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

      The lone corner in Georgia’s draft class this year, Kendrick could end up getting some attention from the Patriots who have a need at the position. Kendrick possesses two non-football traits that the Patriots have valued in the past – he’s a converted wide receiver and a transfer player who began his career at Clemson. Between those the two schools, he has a ton of big game experience. On the field, he’s a ball-hawking primarily boundary zone player who will contribute against the run. However, his skillset is still very raw. He’s projected to be a late third or early fourth round pick.

    • OL Jamaree Salyer

      Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer (69) gets ready to block against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

      Salyer was a tackle for the Bulldogs, but could move inside to guard at the next level. The Patriots generally value that kind of versatility in Day 3 offensive linemen, and will also like how well he played in the CFB semifinal game against Michigan’s first-round pass rushing duo of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo.

    • RB James Cook

      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)

      Cook is one of the best all-around backs in this class. He totaled over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the Bulldogs last year in a receiving back role. The Patriots did bring back 30-year-old James White in free agency, but if they want to invest in a long-term third down back while giving that player time to develop, Cook would make a lot of sense early on Day 3.

    • LB Channing Tindall

      Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Channing Tindall (41) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      Tindall is somewhere between Dean and Walker in terms of both size and skillset. In a strong linebacker class, there’s a chance he falls as somewhat of a ‘tweener’ but is currently projected to go late on Day 2 or early on Day 3.

    • Zamir White

      Nov 20, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Zamir White (3) runs for a touchdown against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

      While Cook was the Bulldogs’ multi-purpose back, White did most of the downhill running. He was also a team captain in 2021. For the short term, the Patriots are set on early down backs with the combination of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. At the same time, they’ve taken a running back in three of the last four drafts. White is in that late Day 2 to early Day 3 range.

    • G Justin Shaffer

      Sep 11, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Justin Shaffer (54) in action against the UAB Blazers at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

      Moving down the draft board now, Shaffer is a project player expected to go in the fifth or sixth round. At 6-foot-4, 314 pounds he plays with a mean streak, but will need to sure up his technique at the next level.

    • P Jake Camarda

      Nov 23, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs punter Jake Camarda (90) follows through on a punt against the Texas A&M Aggies during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

      Yes, even Georgia’s punter is projected to be drafted. Camarda is currently a projected seventh-round pick in what is a strong punter class.

    • TE John FitzPatrick

      ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 01: Tight end John Fitzpatrick #86 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with the ball after making a reception during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

      FitzPatrick was primarily a blocking tight end for Georgia in 2021 at 6-foot-7, 250 pounds. The Patriots don’t have a need at tight end, but his size could make him valuable as a practice squad player. As a projected UDFA it would likely only cost the Pats a roster spot to bring him.

    Who are the Patriots watching at the Alabama Pro Day?

    • One of the biggest days of the pre-draft process is upon us. Wednesday is Alabama’s Pro Day, when personnel executives from all 32 NFL teams will get a close look as the players set to head from Tuscaloosa to the pros.

      This is an especially notable event for the Patriots. Since 2010, the Patriots have drafted eight players from Alabama – more than any other team in the NFL. They’ve also drafted more players from Alabama than any other school in that span, taking no more than six from any other program (you can find a full list of their favorite schools here).

      Six of those eight picks – including all of the last five – were made in the top 100. The Patriots don’t just turn to Alabama for talent, but for impact talent. That push has ramped up recently, with four Alabama picks in the last three years – including their first two picks last year in Mac Jones and Christian Barmore. Damien Harris (2019 3rd round) and Anfernee Jennings (2020 3rd round) are the other two.

      From their immense success on the field to Bill Belichick’s relationship with Nick Saban, there’s a lot to draw New England to the program. So, who might he look to add this year? Here’s a rundown of the draft targets and top projected UDFA’s in this year’s Alabama draft class.

      Note: Alabama’s Pro Day is so expansive, it’s split into two sessions. The majority of the players listed below will work out on Wednesday, but a handful will take part in the second Pro Day on April 13. 

    • T Evan Neal

      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

      Neal is arguably the top offensive lineman in this year’s class, and is in the running to be the first overall pick. It would take something wild for him to end up with the Patriots.

    • WR Jameson Williams

      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

      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

      Had Williams finished the 2021 season healthy, he’d be right there with Neal in the ‘untouchable’ category as the top receiver in this class and a likely top 10 overall pick. However, a torn ACL in the National Championship now has his stock slipping to the middle of the first round. Still, when healthy he is a 6-foot-2 burner who runs precise routes and elusive with the ball in his hands.

      It’s possible he falls to 21 if receiver-needy teams are focused on immediate impact, but his immense ceiling makes it seem likely a team will take a chance on him in the top 20 – especially given how many teams have multiple picks in that range.

    • LB Christian Harris

      Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) is pressured by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Christian Harris (8) in the fourth quarter during the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

      Harris is one of a number of rangy middle linebackers expected to go on Day 2 of this year’s draft. He’s towards the top of that group that also includes Chad Muma, Quay Walker, Leo Chenal, and Troy Anderson, and could end up being a top-50 pick. At 6-foot, 226 pounds he’s undersized compared to the typical Patriots linebackers, but if they’re truly committed to fielding a faster zone-based defense, Harris would be a great fit in that transition.

    • DL Phidarian Mathis

      Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) tackles Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]  College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati

      Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis (48) tackles Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford (24) in the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

      A captain for the Tide in 2021, Mathis helped fill the hole left on the defensive line by Christian Barmore’s departure. Like Barmore, Mathis wins more with athleticism than mass (6-foot-4, 210 pounds). He’s more of a run stopper than pass rusher, but isn’t a liability as an interior rusher on early downs and can push the pocket from the interior when needed.

      Mathis has the versatility to play all along the defensive line, a trait the Patriots have valued highly. Pairing Mathis with Barmore could create some interesting athletic mismatches up front. Mathis is currently projected to be a late second or early third round pick.

    • WR John Metchie

      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)

      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)

      One of the most interesting prospects on this list, it feels just as likely Metchie could go at the end of the first round as it does he could go early in the third. A torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game hurt his draft stock, but recent reports and workout videos suggest he could miss minimal time this upcoming season.

      While he doesn’t have the upside of Jameson Williams, Metchie still projects to be one of the best receivers in this draft if he hits his ceiling. His skillset would be well-suited to the Patriots’ offense – he’s a technician as a route runner and can line up both outside and in the slot. Once he separates, his speed makes him a threat after the catch, especially at the short and intermediate levels.

      On top of all of that, Metchie has experience working with Mac Jones. During Jones’ lone full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback, Metchie posted 55 catches for 916 yards and six touchdowns as the team’s second receiver playing opposite Hesiman winner DeVonta Smith.

    • RB Brian Robinson

      TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - OCTOBER 23: Brian Robinson Jr. #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball against Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images )

      TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 23: Brian Robinson Jr. #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball against Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images )

      Robinson is one of the more well-rounded backs in this class. He can contribute as a ball carrier, a receiver, and as a blocker. In 2021, he put up 1,639 all-purpose yards with 16 touchdowns as the Tide’s feature back.

      If the Patriots are looking to add depth at the position and don’t mind making a top-150 investment, Robinson would make a lot of sense as a target early on Day 3. He could be both an early-down back or pass-catching back in their system, similar to the role Rex Burkhead had during his time in Foxborough.

    • CB Josh Jobe

      Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Josh Jobe (28) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      In a draft that’s not incredibly deep when it comes to outside corners, Jobe stands out as a strong option right around the 100th pick. Jobe was incredibly productive as a junior in 2020, leading the SEC with 11 pass breakups. However, he was more inconsistent in 2021.

      Part of the reason Jobe – who began the year as a projected top-50 pick – may fall this far is lack of scheme versatility. He played almost exclusively press man corner at Alabama, and may translate better as a safety in other schemes. However, the Patriots would likely have him playing press man, so they may see his slide as a chance for a value pick. There’s other parts of Jobe’s game the Patriots may like including his overall physicality, willingness as a tackler, and special teams experience.

    • CB Jalyn Armour-Davis

      Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Florida Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter (4) in the first half. Florida Gators played their first SEC game against Alabama at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon, September 18, 2021, in Gainesville, FL. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

      Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jalyn Armour-Davis (5) breaks up a pass intended for Florida Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter (4) in the first half. Florida Gators played their first SEC game against Alabama at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium Saturday afternoon, September 18, 2021, in Gainesville, FL. [Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun]

      Alabama’s other outside corner, Armour-Davis doesn’t have the multi-year starting experience Jobe does but may be the higher-upside option of the two players. He’s bigger than Jobe at 6-foot-1, 197 pounds, and ran an impressive 4.39 40 at the Combine.

      Like Jobe (and most Alabama cornerbacks for that matter) he’s a willing tackler who can contribute on special teams as well as defense. Projected to go in the fifth round, he seems like a logical fit with a Patriots team that has done a great job developing technically raw an inexperienced cornerbacks over the years. He’d make a lot of sense as a Day 3 pick, especially if the team elects to double-dip at the position.

    • DL LaBryan Ray

      TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 23: LaBryan Ray #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reaches for Hendon Hooker #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers in the first half at Bryant Denny Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Photo by Marvin Gentry/Getty Images)

      Ray is another athletic and versatile defensive lineman. He wasn’t quite as productive as Mathis, and dealt with some injuries issues during his collegiate career which resulted in him playing just two full seasons. Yet when on the field he’s shown some upside as an edge setter and interior pass rusher, and like Mathis would be an interesting complement to Barmore. He’s currently projected to go late on Day 3.

    • Slade Bolden

      INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Slade Bolden #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball after a reception during the second quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

      INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Slade Bolden #18 of the Alabama Crimson Tide carries the ball after a reception during the second quarter of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

      Mac Jones’ former roommate, Bolden is a converted quarterback that played slot receiver for the Tide in 2021. At that spot, he’s able to get himself open in the short and intermediate areas of the field, and picks up yards after the catch with an aggressive running style. He also contributed on special teams. A projected seventh-round pick or priority UDFA, he’d be a logical replacement for Gunner Olszewski, who is now in Pittsburgh.

    • OLB Christopher Allen

      Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen (4) sacks Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) for a loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

      Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama linebacker Christopher Allen (4) sacks Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers (2) for a loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

      Injuries limited Allen to just 19 games in five seasons at Alabama. When he was on the field though he was a force, with 13 tackles for a loss including six sacks in 11 games in 2020 – his only full season. He’s raw, but could make sense as a low-risk, high-upside player in the seventh round or as a UDFA.

    • OL Chris Owens

      Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Chris Owens (79) against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      A six-year player and three-year starter who’s played guard tackle and center, Owens’ experience, versatility, and size (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) make him a logical fit for the Patriots. He projects best to guard in the NFL, but can realistically offer depth across the offensive line. He’s currently projected to be a UDFA.

    • S Daniel Wright

      Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Daniel Wright (3) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Daniel Wright (3) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

      Wright arrived at Alabama as a four-star recruit in 2017, but injuries kept him off the field early in his career. He started seeing more playing time in 2020 and played 26 games over the last two years mainly in a reserve role. As a projected UDFA, he’ll look to stick on a roster as a backup free safety and special teams contributor.

    • Other Pro Day breakdowns

      Georgia
      Penn State
      Florida
      Tulsa

    New Patriots player personnel director begins Pro Day circuit

    • With all of the changes to the Patriots’ coaching staff, it’s easy to forget there was a major change in the team’s front office too. Former director of player personnel Dave Ziegler left to be the new general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders, with Matt Groh taking his spot in New England.

      Director of player personnel is a key role in the NFL corporates flow chart. The job is basically an assistant GM and covers everything from internal contracts to free agency and the draft.

      Unlike Ziegler, who’s background was mainly working at the pro personnel level, Groh comes from the scouting ranks. He was reportedly heavily involved in the Patriots’ draft process last year, and there’s no reason to think that will change in 2022.

      In fact, Groh was out scouting himself this week as the Pro Day circuit began. According to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, Groh was in Oklahoma to watch workouts at Tulsa Thursday and Friday.

      Although Tulsa doesn’t have many players in the draft this year, those that did work out play positions of need for the Patriots. Will any of them catch Groh’s attention and end up in Foxborough this spring?

    • OT Tyler Smith

      Oct 3, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane offensive tackle Tyler Smith (56) guards during the second quarter of a game against the UCF Knights at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

      Smith has all of the size the Patriots look for at tackle at 6-foot-5, 324 pounds and he plays the game with a nasty edge. He’s still raw technically though and is seen as a high-ceiling, low-floor prospect. By showing positional versatility – either as a swing tackle or as a combo tackle/guard – he could increase his draft stock which projects to be a late Day 2 pick. If the Patriots are satisfied with their tackle situation for 2022 but want a long-term project player with upside, he could be a fit.

    • IOL Chris Paul

      Nov 14, 2020; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane offensive lineman Chris Paul (71) blocks Southern Methodist Mustangs defensive back Cam Jones (2) during the game at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

      Paul is one of the more intriguing offensive line prospects on Day 3 of the draft. A Senior Bowl participant, he played both tackle and guard in college, and has the strong football IQ you’d expect from a player that moves around that much. A four-year starter, his high motor helped overshadow some of his more technical shortcomings, which will need to be fixed at the next level. Those who covered him at Tulsa also rave about him as a positive locker room presence and academic standout. Football isn’t his only passion – he also produced an EP Roads under the stage name The Seventh.

    • WR Josh Johnson

      Sep 11, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane wide receiver Josh Johnson (4) runs with the ball after a reception during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cowboys won 28-23. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

      A Iowa State transfer, Johnson had a breakout year for Tulsa in 2021 catching 82 passes for 1,087 yards and six touchdowns. That included an eight-catch, 148-yard performance against Ohio State. He didn’t run the 40 at the Combine, but is expected to be one of the faster receivers in this class and wins mostly with his speed. Johnson is currently projected to be a priority UDFA.

    • CB Travon Fuller

      Sep 18, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane cornerback Travon Fuller (2) intercepts a pass intended for Ohio State Buckeyes tight end Jeremy Ruckert (88) during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

      Fuller transferred to Tulsa from Texas A&M in 2021 and played a starting role for the Golden Hurricane. In 13 games he intercepted three passes – including one against Ohio State – while deflecting nine more and forcing a fumble. A bigger corner at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, he also contributed in the running game and recorded4.5 tackles for a loss. He’s currently projected to go undrafted.

    • Looking ahead

      Remember, this is just one Pro Day over the course of about a month-long stretch. There’s still a ways to go, so we’ll keep an eye out for where Groh or other Patriots’ decision makers are spotted as things move ahead. Notable Pro Days next week include Georgia (Wednesday), Clemson (Thursday), and Michigan (Friday).

    Patriots director of scouting attends Pro Day of record-breaking prospects

    • It’s been a busy week for the Patriots, as college Pro Days wind down. They had staffers in Florida to begin the week, followed by a big trip to Alabama with a contingent highlighted by Bill Belichick and Matt Groh on Wednesday. While that was going on, assistant coach Ross Douglas continued his work with wide receivers at Boise State.

      On Thursday, it was newly-named director of scouting Eliot Wolf in the spotlight at the day’s most notable workout. According to Jim Nagy of the Senior Bowl, Wolf was one of the top executives spotted at Western Kentucky’s Pro Day.

      Despite not having any projected Day 1 or Day 2 picks, there were still some notable names working out in Bowling Green. That list is highlighted by a player that just broke a number of notable NCAA single-season records. Here’s a quick rundown of who Wolf saw on Thursday…

    • QB Bailey Zappe

      BOCA RATON, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 18: Bailey Zappe #4 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first half of the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

      BOCA RATON, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 18: Bailey Zappe #4 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers looks to pass against the Appalachian State Mountaineers during the first half of the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium on December 18, 2021 in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

      Zappe transferred to Western Kentucky from FCS Houston Baptist before the 2021 season, and rewrote the FBS record books upon his arrival. He threw for 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns, surpassing the previous marks set by Joe Burrow in 2019.

      A five-year starter between two schools, Zappe is one of the most experienced passers in this draft. Given how much he’s seen, his instincts at this point help make up for some of his shortcomings with his arm.

      Would the Patriots have any interest in Zappe? With Jarrett Stidham entering the final year of his deal, it’s not unrealistic to think that they could be looking for a new long-term backup for Mac Jones, to join the QB room along with Brian Hoyer. While Zappe could fit the bill, he’s currently viewed as the top option in the second tier of passers in this draft, and his draft range will be boosted by a weak overall quarterback class. The Patriots have reached for backups in the past (Jarrett Stidham in the 4th round in 2019, Jacoby Brissett in the 3rd in 2016, Ryan Mallett in the 3rd in 2011, Kevin O’Connell in the 3rd in 2008), but that feels less realistic than usual this year.

    • WR Jerreth Sterns

      EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 02: Jerreth Sterns #8 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers runs the ball against Darius Snow #23 of the Michigan State Spartans during the third quarter of the game at Spartan Stadium on October 02, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

      EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 02: Jerreth Sterns #8 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers runs the ball against Darius Snow #23 of the Michigan State Spartans during the third quarter of the game at Spartan Stadium on October 02, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

      With that kind of quarterback production, there’s bound to be some eye-popping wide receiver numbers too right? That’s where Sterns comes in. He actually transferred with Zappe from HBU to WKU, and set new C-USA records for catches (150) and receiving yards (1,902) in a single season, while leading the conference in receiving touchdowns (17). Sterns finished the 2021 season eight catches and 158 yards away from setting new NCAA single-season records.

      At 5-foot-9, 183 pounds, Sterns is primarily a slot receiver. He’s an excellent route runner who works primarily in the short and intermediate areas of the field. He has very sure hands, both as a receiver and carrying the ball after the catch – he didn’t fumble on 168 touches at Western Kentucky. While he’s not a burner, Sterns has enough wiggle to do some damage with the ball in his hands, both as a receiver and punt returner.

      While he doesn’t pop physically, Sterns is a very technically-sound player. Currently projected to go outside of the top 200, he has all the makings of a late Day 3 Patriots draft pick or UDFA.

    • OLB DeAngelo Malone

      MTSU quarterback Asher O'Hara (10) gets sacked by Western defensive end DeAngelo Malone (10) and Western defensive tackle Ricky Barber (50) on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at MTSU. (Helen Comer/DNJ via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

      MTSU quarterback Asher O’Hara (10) gets sacked by Western defensive end DeAngelo Malone (10) and Western defensive tackle Ricky Barber (50) on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, at MTSU. (Helen Comer/DNJ via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

      Western Kentucky’s incredible production isn’t limited to the offensive side of the ball – or players who transferred from Houston Baptist. Malone was a five-year player and four-year contributor for the Hilltoppers, winning C-USA Defensive Player of the Year twice, in 2019 and 2021. In 50 games over the last four seasons, Malone totaled 57.5 tackles for a loss including 31 sacks and forced eight fumbles.

      Malone primarily played with his hand in the dirt in college, but at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds will likely need to transition to being a standup edge rusher at the next level. He’ll likely be a passing down-specific player in the NFL right away, but does have room to grow his game. The Patriots have targeted similar players in recent years, including Ronnie Perkins last year. However, while Perkins was a top 100 pick, Malone is expected to go in the middle picks on Day 3.

    • Other workouts

      Nov 27, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers offensive lineman Boe Wilson (56) during the third quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

      Nov 27, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers offensive lineman Boe Wilson (56) during the third quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

      Western Kentucky also had four other players take part in the Pro Day. All are projected UDFAs.

      Three of those players are offensive linemen. That group includes guard Boe Wilson, who transferred to Western Kentucky after two years as a starter at Nebraska. WKU’s two starting tackles, Mason Brooks and Cole Spencer are also in this class. They’ll need to show they can also play at guard to stick on NFL rosters as versatile depth options.

      Finally there’s safety Antwon Kincade. Kincade started for the last three years, and piled up 100 tackles in 2021 as a box safety. His high motor and willingness to hit could see him get looks as a special teamer.

    • Other Pro Day breakdowns

      Georgia
      Alabama
      Penn State
      Florida
      Boise State
      Tulsa