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Three Friday night pre-draft thoughts on Patriots connections with Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and Crockett Gilmore

04.04.14 at 9:32 pm ET
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Three Friday night pre-draft thoughts on the Patriots:

1. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks told the NFL Network on Friday that the Patriots have worked him out. With the understanding that “worked out” could have many different definitions when it comes to the pre-draft process, Cooks presents himself as an interesting prospect as it relates to New England. The 5-foot-10, 189-pounder out of Oregon State is considered one of the better receivers in this year’s draft — the Biletnikoff award winner set the Oregon State and Pac-12 records for catches with 128, receiving yards with 1,730 and touchdown catches with 24 as a junior in 2013. While he had terrific numbers as a collegian, he really landed on a lot of radar screens with an excellent performance at the combine in February, where he was the top performer in the 20-yard (3.81) and 60-yard (10.81) shuttles, and had the best wide receiver time (4.33) in the 40-yard dash. It’s debatable as to whether or not he’d be available the Patriots pick at No. 29, and as a result, New England might have to swing a draft weekend deal to move up if they want a shot at Cooks.

2. While receiver isn’t considered an overwhelming need for the Patriots in the draft, Cooks is just the latest relatively high-profile pass catchers who has drawn the interest of the Patriots throughout the pre-draft process. Late last month, the New England coaching staff apparently took a long look at Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin. From our viewpoint, Benjamin is the most impressive receiver — from a physical standpoint — we’ve seen throughout the pre-draft process. While there are questions about his consistency, it’s easy to look at his 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame and think about the possibility of a Calvin Johnson-type presence in the passing game. In 2013, he caught 54 passes for 1,011 yards and 15 touchdowns last season for the national champions. Considered a late first-round/early second-round possibility, could be available if New England sticks at 29 and wants to throw everyone curveball by getting a receiver in the first round.

3. Tony Pauline — an eminently reliable source when it comes to pre-draft visiting, scouting and the like — noted Friday the Patriots brought in tight end Crockett Gilmore from Colorado State in for a visit earlier in the week. Gilmore is a fascinating prospect for a few reasons — considered a mid-round possibility, the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder was named first-team All-Mountain West in 2013 after finishing with 43 catches for 533 yards for CSU. He also has some interesting versatility in that he’s a converted defensive end, having made the switch from one side of the ball to the other between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Want to know more about Gilmore? Check out his own website, CrockettGilmore.com.

Read More: 2014 NFL Draft, Brandin Cooks, Crockett Gilmore, Kelvin Benjamin
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