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Four more names pop up on the pre-draft radar for the Patriots

04.17.12 at 3:32 pm ET
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Four more names have been linked to the Patriots as part of the pre-draft process in the last few days. Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch of each one of them and what they could possibly bring to New England:

USC DE/OLB Nick Perry: The 6-foot-3, 271-pounder is considered by most to be a mid- to late-first round possibility, which would certainly mesh with the Patriots, who have No. 27 and No. 31 overall and recently had him in for a pre-draft visit, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. Perry said at the combine in February that while he had positional versatility to play both the OLB in the 3-4 and DE in a 4-3, he prefers the 4-3 with his hand on the ground. A potential replacement for Mark Anderson (and possibly Andre Carter if the latter doesn’€™t return), Perry recorded 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a junior in 2011. (We profiled him here as part of our “Potential Patriots” series.)

Vanderbilt CB Casey Hayward: Projected as a late first-round or early second-round possibility (Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network thinks that he’€™s a Top 25 pick), the 5-foot-11, 192-pounder has put together two very impressive seasons the last two years in the SEC: Last season, he had 62 tackles, a career-high seven interceptions and 10 pass deflections, and was named second-team All-SEC for the second straight year. As a junior, he finished with 70 tackles, six interceptions, 11 pass deflections and one forced fumble. In all, he finished his collegiate career with 15 interceptions. He also had a 3-cone drill time of 6.76, and we all know how much the Patriots love a good 3-cone drill time. (According to Wilson, he had a pre-draft visit with New England, and has also previously had a visit with the Titans and private workouts with the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.)

LSU CB Ron Brooks: The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Brooks has played in every game over the past four years with the Tigers, intercepting two passes last season and returned both for touchdowns. (Brooks visited with the Patriots, per Wilson.) One thing going for him is the fact that he was raised in a culture of football: his father Anthony Brooks, played for the Chicago Bears. (The Patriots could have three other players on their 2012 roster — Carter, Matt Slater and Bobby Carpenter — who are second-generation professional football players.) Another thing in Brooks’€™ favor is that he has some good positional versatility, having spent time at safety. In a year where the safety market is subpar, he could make a good addition in New England.

Ohio LB Noah Keller: The 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Sunday that the Patriots were scheduled to work him out Tuesday. A middle linebacker in Ohio’€™s 4-3 defense last season, he was named to the All-MAC second-team after a senior season where he finished with a career-best 116 tackles. Projected by many to be a late-round target, he jumped onto the radar after a strong Pro Day performance that showcased his speed: he was clocked at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash and 4.3 seconds in the short-shuttle.

Read More: Casey Hayward, Nick Perry, Noah Keller, Ron Brooks
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