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Potential Patriots: Jermaine Gresham

04.16.10 at 1:06 am ET
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Each Friday leading up to this month’€™s NFL Draft, WEEI.com will focus on one player the Patriots could be targeting. Here are the draft prospects that have been put in the spotlight thus far:

Clemson DE/OLB Ricky Sapp

Michigan DE/OLB Brandon Graham

Penn State DT Jared Odrick

Texas DE/OLB Sergio Kindle

Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant

Texas Christian OLB Jerry Hughes

To not highlight at least one tight end in this series would neglect Bill Belichick’s draft style and the positions on which he places the highest priority in late April. As a result, we turn our attention to Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham, who has had multiple knee operations but is considered a top talent in this year’s class.

THE NUMBERS

Combine height: 6-foot-5 2/8

Combine weight: 261 pounds

40-yard dash time: 4.73 (according to Oklahoma’s web site)

Bench reps: 20

Best season: 2008 (66 receptions, 950 yards, 14 TD)

THE CASE

This is a very interesting tight end class in that the top two at the position (Gresham and Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski) have major injury concerns. After tearing his ACL as a two-sport star in high school, Gresham underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and missed all of last season. Even so, the Patriots can’t expect Alge Crumpler to be a pass-catching tight end, which happens to be a specialty of Gresham’s.

Benjamin Watson was called many things in his time with the Patriots, from inconsistent to underutilized to not worth a first-round pick. Regardless of the charges against him, one of the more noticeable issues with Watson was dropped passes. It is in this area that Gresham could become fast friends with Tom Brady. He doesn’t have elite speed for a tight end and hasn’t run recently enough for scouts to effectively gauge his speed. Gresham also falls a bit short in the blocking department, so if the Patriots want him it will be primarily a pass-catcher.

THE PROOF

From Pro Draft Party:

WHAT HE’S SAID

From the NFL Combine:

“I want to be everything. I want to be a guy that, you know, the greatest player, if not one of the greats, that played it. So hopefully I can be a great blocker, great pass catcher, great route runner, everything.’€

On missing his senior season:

“The game of football itself, when you miss it ‘€” you don’€™t realize how important something is to you (until) it’€™s taken away from you. So I think I’€™ve seen how important football is to me and how much I love it, seeing my other guys play and not being able to contribute. That took a toll on me and made me appreciate the game a whole lot more.’€

WHAT THEY’VE SAID

A NFL talent evaluator, as told to Pro Football Weekly:

“Gresham catches everything with his hands. He’s not superfast, but he is extremely athletic. His pro-day workout was outstanding. He is going to be a Pro Bowler.”

Read More: 2010 NFL Draft,
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