Posted Under: 2010, Draft 10, General / Analysis, Reports, Rumors
Yesterday, the Patriots hosted Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant on a pre-draft visit at Gillette Stadium, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.
The situation with Bryant is a very interesting one. He is an immense talent, but there are some serious character questions surrounding him. He is big, physical, has great hands, can make the tough catch. But again, there are some character questions surrounding him that make you question if he is a top 10 pick. Add his poor 40 yard dash time at his pro day on top of that, and you have a situation where a top 10 talent could wind up falling to the later portions of the first round.
The Patriots, in this case, are preparing for that exact scenario: what if Dez Bryant is there at 22? By bringing him in to the facilities, Bryant will get a chance to meet with the coaching staff, possibly some teammates; allowing the Patriots to further access his character. If the Patriots feel that Bryant is actually a good locker room guy, and has a high football IQ, then I believe they will greatly consider him if he falls to 22. Randy Moss is in the last year of his contract, and the Patriots will need an outside threat to replace him if he does in fact leave after 2010.
Other players who have visited or are expected to visit with the Patriots include quarterback Tim Tebow of Florida, versatile defensive lineman Arthur Jones of Syracuse, running backs Montario Hardesty of Tennessee and Ryan Mathews of Fresno State, outside linebacker Jerry Hughes of TCU, defensive backs Kurt Coleman of Ohio State and Dominique Franks of Oklahoma, nose tackle Dan Williams of Tennessee, defensive end Tyson Alualu of California. There have also been “reported” visits with conflicting reports regarding defensive linemen Cam Thomas of North Carolina, and Brian Price of UCLA.
There’s a lot that stands out from those names. First, it is clear that the Patriots definitely intend to address the defensive line during the first two rounds of the draft, as the team has also looked at defensive lineman such as Jared Odrick, Torrell Troup, Al Woods, etc. Second, the only pass rusher the Patriots have brought in for a pre-draft visit that we know about is Jerry Hughes. Hughes is shorter than your prototype 3-4 outside linebacker, but he is explosive, and arguably one of the best pass rushers in this year’s draft. Last, the Patriots could be looking to bring fresh legs to the running back position, as they are looking at two of the top runners in Ryan Mathews and Montario Hardesty. We have already discussed Mathews on this blog, but Hardesty is an interesting guy as he shows good agility and power, although he lacks breakaway speed (and injuries could be a problem). The Patriots could snag him in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Overall, this should be a big week for pre-draft visits, and we’ll be sure to report all of them as they happen. It’s officially less than two weeks to the NFL Draft, and I couldn’t be more excited.