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Examining five prospects who will be visiting with Patriots before draft

04.03.13 at 11:55 pm ET
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Multiple reports came out on Wednesday indicating that the Patriots were going to host several draft prospects on visits. When it comes to pre-draft visits, it’s important to remember that it could mean several things: One, it could be a sign of genuine interest in a prospect. Two, it could also be a smokescreen to feign interest in hopes of creating some pre-draft misdirection. And three, it could be an attempt to kick the tires on a player — not so much for immediate, pre-draft information, but an attempt to gain intel down the road.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the prospects who will be breaking bread with the Patriots.

Desmond Trufant: The cornerback out of Washington certainly has impressive bloodlines — he has two older brothers who have played in the NFL (Marcus for the Seahawks and Isaiah for the Jets). At the same time, he’s carved out an impressive resume of his own, as the 6-foot, 186-pounder was a member of the All-Pac-12 first team in 2012 and was a four-year starter for Washington. He set career-bests in 2011 as a junior with a pair of interceptions and 16 passes defensed. For the record: His 3-cone drill time is 6.76, which is pretty much in line with what the Patriots look for in a defensive back.

Kenny Stills: The Oklahoma wide receiver, who checks in at 6-foot, 194 pounds, had great production in his three years with the Sooners, including 204 receptions in three seasons as a collegian. (Last season, Stills caught 82 passes for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns.) He was twice named second-team All-Big 12, and is considered a mid-round prospects. Like Trufant, he has roots deep in the game. Kenny’€™s father — also named Kenny — was a safety with the Packers and Vikings, while his uncle Gary Stills, played for the Chiefs and Ravens. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Stills is visiting with the Patriots Wednesday and Thursday.

Reid Fragel: The Ohio State offensive lineman will make Foxboro one of six pre-draft visits, according to draft analyst Tony Pauline. Former the tight end (who caught 14 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore and junior) grew into one of the best tackles in the Big Ten as a senior, and the 6-foot-8, 308-pounder is now poised to be an early- to mid-round selection. The Patriots have high-level tackles, but could use some depth, and Fragel could be a second day pickup for New England.

Dion Jordan: Intriguing. If the Patriots are going to get Jordan, their going to have to trade up to do so. Considered one of the best defensive players in the draft, the 6-foot-6, 248-pound defensive end has been slotted as a Top 10 pick in almost every mock draft to this point. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his old coach Chip Kelly (now in charge of the Eagles) take him fourth overall. With Jordan, you’re talking about a guy who could have been created in a lab by Bill Belichick — a hybrid defensive end/linebacker who can rush the passer, set the edge or drop into coverage. His last two years at Oregon, he had 12.5 sacks, 23.5 tackles for a loss and an interception. Who knows — maybe Belichick just wants to see him up close to see if he really does exist. (News of Jordan’s visit was first reported by the Boston Herald.)

Cornellius “Tank” Carradine: One of the most interesting guys in the draft. He starred in JUCO, but didn’t get a chance to start until his senior year. But in 12 games in 2012, he had 11 sacks and 13 tackles for loss for Florida State, and the 6-foot-4, 276-pounder distinguished himself as one of the most talented pass rushers in the country. But a torn ACL in his right knee in November clouded his future, and will affect his draft stock. In the case of the Patriots, they almost certainly want to make sure Carradine’s knee is OK. Ultimately, if teams’ are comfortable with his health, he could go in the top half of the first round. If not, he could slide. (News of Carradine’s visit was first reported by the Boston Herald.)

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