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Are the Patriots going to target a ‘Conehead’ at wide receiver?

03.01.11 at 1:39 pm ET
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One of the things the Patriots love to look at isn’€™t necessarily speed, but quickness. That’€™s why New England football fans should pay particular attention to what prospects ‘€” particularly wide receivers and defensive backs ‘€” do in the 3-cone drills this week. The Patriots have traditionally put a lot of stock ‘€” maybe more than most teams ‘€” in shuttle/cone drills in their pre-draft workouts. That’€™s not to say they would select a player based solely on what he did in one of the drills, but it would certainly cause New England to take notice.

(For a complete look at what the 3-cone drill entails, check out this exhaustive definition courtesy of NFL.com.)

To that end, lots of the relatively under-the-radar receivers (non first-rounders) they’€™ve targeted in recent years have all excelled in the agility drills. Julian Edelman had a 6.62 second time in the 3-cone drill as a collegian. Deion Branch was 6.71 (at the 2002 combine), Chad Jackson (at the 2006 combine) was 6.74 and Wes Welker was 7.06. (To give you some perspective, all of those performances would have put them near or in the Top 10 at this year’€™s combine.) That also translates to the defensive side of the football, as Devin McCourty‘€™s 6.7 in the 3-cone drill at last year’€™s combine put him second among all corners.

Here are the Top 10 performances among all the wide receivers in the 3-cone drill. (The times for the defensive backs have not yet been posted.) It’€™s worth noting that many of these guys are not billed as potential first-round picks, so as a result, they could have drawn New England’€™s interest because of their performance this week.

1. Oregon’€™s Jeffrey Maehl (6.42)
2. Ohio State’€™s Dane Sanzenbacher (6.46)
3. LSU’€™s Terrence Toliver (6.48)
4. Mount Union’€™s Cecil Shorts (6.50)
5. Wake Forest’€™s Marshall Williams (6.61)
6. San Diego State’€™s Vincent Brown (6.64)
7. SMU’€™s Aldrick Robinson (6.65)
8. Hawaii’€™s Greg Salas (6.65)
9. Alabama’€™s Julio Jones (6.66)
10. Stanford’€™s Ryan Whalen (6.67)

(For what it’s worth, WEEI.com has already profiled Maehl as a “Potential Patriot.” Check out his information here.)

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Aldrick Robinson, Cecil Shorts, Chad Jackson
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