|Eleven under-the-radar prospects for the Patriots to ponder||03.28.12 at 12:52 am ET|
A league source indicates the Patriots have shown some interest in Wabash wide receiver/return man Wes Chamblee out of tiny Wabash College in Indiana. A Division III All-American, Chamblee posted some amazing numbers as a collegian, including 14 touchdowns (four of them return TDs) and 1,800 all-purpose yards as a senior. (Click HERE to watch video of Chamblee as a collegian.)
While everyone knows about the big names, Chamblee is one of several relatively under-the-radar prospects New England has connected with on and off throughout the pre-draft process. Here are ten similar players, most of whom have drawn the notice of the Patriots (whether via a workout, visit, or Pro Day contact) who could be worth paying attention to between now and draft weekend:
Wide receiver Brian Quick (Appalachian State): We profiled Quick earlier in the week, but multiple sources have now indicated that the Patriots have shown an extreme interest in the wide receiver. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, a former high school basketball star, is relatively new to football, as he played just one year in high school before reaching college, so he’s still developing. Regardless, there’s plenty of pre-draft buzz around Quick, as his size and senior numbers (71 catches, 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns) mean he likely won’t last past the third round.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Ryan Davis (Bethune-Cookman): Multiple sources indicate that Davis worked out for the Patriots on Tuesday. (Tony Pauline of SI.com was first to report the news.) The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder is a converted tight end who led the MEAC in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (21.5) as a senior while earning defensive player of the year honors.
Tight end Emil Igwenagu (UMass): The Patriots were in attendance at UMass Pro Day and had the opportunity to see the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder. (Igwenagu also had a chance to work out at BC Pro Day, and several New England staffers were also in attendance there.) As a senior, he caught 38 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns.
Guard/tackle Tom Compton (South Dakota): A 6-foot-5, 314-pounder, Compton has the positional versatility that they crave down in Foxboro, not only when it comes to playing either right or left tackle, but also when it comes to playing either guard or tackle. A four-year starter for the Coyotes, he could be a mid- to late-round possibility.
Cornerback/Safety/Special teamer Justin Bethel (Presbyterian): The Patriots were able to pluck a versatile defensive back with special teams talents away from the Jets in free agent Marquice Cole, and Bethel likely projects to be the same type of player. A defensive back who shifted between corner and safety in college, he blocked nine kicks in four seasons as a collegian. The 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back posted a 6.79 3-cone time at the combine, and the Patriots always like a guy with a good 3-cone time. (The South Carolina native also has an affinity for New England — he almost went to Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales for culinary arts before deciding on playing football at Presbyterian.)
Cornerback Ryan Steed (Furman): Known as a cerebral corner, he reportedly scored in the high 30s in his 2011 Wonderlic. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Steed has some length, and would be an intriguing fit in New England. (He met with the Patriots, among other teams, at the Senior Bowl.) Steed, who projects as a mid-round guy, totaled 46 tackles, four interceptions, and four pass deflections as a senior.
Cornerback Chris Greenwood (Albion): A 6-foot-1, 193-pound corner, he was a Division III All-American. He has speed to burn, having posted sub-4.4 40s.
Safeties Jerron McMillian and Trevor Coston (Maine): We’re going to lump these two together because they play the same position and attend the same school. According to Pauline, McMillian’s 40 time was clocked at 4.35 seconds, vertical jump measured 39 inches and broad jump 10-foot-6. Coston had a 4.41 40, but posted a vertical jump of 43 inches and three-cone time of 6.82 inches. (Remember, the Patriots love guys who light up the 3-cone drill). The Patriots put both players through position drills for the teams on hand.
Linebacker Shawn Loiseau (Merrimack): A great local story, Loiseau is a 6-foot-1, 244-pounder who is a hard-nosed, aggressive linebacker. A tackling machine, he had 133 tackles and five sacks in 2010, and 121 tackles and 4.5 sacks this past season. (The Patriots had a chance to watch him work out at BC Pro Day.) He has a chip on his shoulder, but he’ll call you out if you try and bet against him. The Bay State native currently projects as a late-round pick.
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