WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Rob Havenstein (Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

Rob Havenstein was recognized as the anchor of the Wisconsin line that opened holes for record-setting running back Melvin Gordon. (Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

ROB HAVENSTEIN

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Wisconsin

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 321 pounds

Achievements: 2014 AFCA All-America first team, 2014 FWAA All-America second team, 2014 All-Big Ten first team, 2014 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, 2013 All-Big Ten second team (coaches)

What he brings: Considered the leader of the Wisconsin offense, Havenstein was a three-year starter and is very large. In his first year with the Badgers the right tackle weighed about 390 pounds, and he trimmed down to 321 by the time of the scouting combine. Dane Brugler of CBS Sports wrote that Havenstein has “the strength to absorb contact and hold his ground,” while also being a “physical mauler with the ideal OL mentality.” For someone his size, he has “adequate initial quickness.” Havenstein has some hip, joint and knee stiffness that impedes some of his bending abilities, which could really start affecting him once in the NFL. Brugler wrote that Havenstein also has “inconsistent body control” and can overextend himself at times.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: At the combine Havenstein ran a 5.46 40-yard dash (which was better than just eight other linemen there) before posting a 7-foot broad jump and a 4.87-second 20-yard shuttle. He helped pave the way for record-setting running back Melvin Gordon. Havenstein began his sports career as a basketball player but switched to football in ninth grade and realized it was his calling.

Related articles:

Fox Sports: Havenstein has something to prove as NFL draft draws near

Fansided: NFL Draft Prospect: Q&A with Wisconsin offensive tackle Robert Havenstein

Madison.com: Badgers football: Rob Havenstein not just an offensive tackle, he’s the leader of the offense

Video: Here’s a brief focus on some of Havenstein’s blocks during Wisconsin’s game against Rutgers in November.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen
Jimmy Garoppolo is back for another season with the Patriots, but it sounds like he's bulked up a bit. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo is set for another season with the Patriots. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

1. Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t get a lot of opportunities to show what he could do as a rookie with the Patriots, but that certainly hasn’t dissuaded him as the 2015 season nears. According to Garoppolo’s personal quarterbacking guru Jeff Christensen, Garoppolo is ready to attack his second season in the NFL.

“I talked to Bill (Belichick) at the combine, and I asked him how Jimmy was doing,” recalled Christensen in a recent phone call. “He said ‘(Jimmy) looks like a linebacker. He works out like a linebacker. He acts like a linebacker. I really like him a lot, coach. You did a great job with him. Thank you.’ ”

Christensen, who said he’ll work closer with Garoppolo to help fine tune his mechanics shortly before the start of training camp in July, was happy with the performance of his pupil in his first year in the NFL. “He got very few opportunities, but I think he made the most of them,” Christensen said of Garoppolo, who finished 19-for-27 for 182 yards and a touchdown in six games in 2014. “I think he did very well. Over the first two weeks of camp he didn’t look good, but I think over the third and fourth week of the preseason, he made real improvement, and that’s what Bill wants to see. Jimmy is a smart kid who just wants to learn, and he’s well aware of how good a situation he’s in right now.”

2. One more note from Christensen, who has become an acknowledged leader in the field when it comes to developing quarterbacks — he was fascinated to watch the evolution of Tom Brady over the course of the 2014 season, particularly the week between the ghastly loss to Kansas City and the thunderous win over the Bengals that really jump started New England’s Super Bowl season.

“I told Jimmy that after that bad game in Kansas City when you get back, Tom isn’t going to want to talk to you,” recalled Christensen. “You’re going to think he’s going to be in World War 6. He won’t be friendly with you. He won’t talk to you. Stay away from him and let him have his space.’ That’s what happened, he got on a roll, and he stayed that way for the next 13 or so weeks. Tom has that nasty place where he says, ‘This is my job, and don’t any of you writers or coaches or players try and take this thing away from me.'”

3. Our good friend Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders put together a really interesting look at offensive line play last season, and in his research, he discovered an astounding stat: no team in the league had the same starting five offensive linemen for all 16 regular-season games in 2014. It goes without saying that part of that was because of injury, but there was also the issue of players getting benched and shuffled in and out of the lineup over the course of the year because of scheme fit. As all of this relates to New England, there was an interesting debate on “Dennis & Callahan” on Friday morning, where Gary Tanguay argued that center Bryan Stork should get more acknowledgement than he does because of his stabilizing presence on the offensive line. And while it’s true that Stork was able to bring some stability up front, as is the case with most offensive line play, it comes down to how well the five players work together. Skill and technique and approach are obviously all key, but continuity matters when it comes to making a good offensive line, and so it’s no surprise that in 2014, the Patriots’ passing game posted far better numbers in the regular season when it was able to send the five starters out there: Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Stork, Ryan Wendell, Sebastian Vollmer, as opposed to anyone else. The stats are courtesy of Ryan Hannable.

— Solder, Connolly, Stork, Wendell, Vollmer (7-1 record) — Weeks 5, 8-14: Brady: 214-320 (66.9 percent), 2,433 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs, 103.6 QB rating, 4 sacks.

— Any combination besides above (5-3 record) — Weeks 1-4, 6, 7, 15, 16: Brady: 160-263 (60.8 percent), 1,675 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs, 89.8 QB rating, 17 sacks.

Aaron’s story is here, and is a terrific and informative read about continuity along the offensive line. Well worth checking out.

4. While teams with new coaches have been back to football since April 6, the Patriots (and the rest of the teams with returning staffs) will open their offseason program this week — the first day they are allowed back in the facility to meet with coaches is Monday. We’ve published this before, but with New England heading back to work this week, it’s worth revisiting the regulations that each team has to abide by when they conduct their offseason programs:

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

Phase 1 consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.

Phase 2 consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.

Phase 3 consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs.” No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program.

5. Strange days in San Diego, where there’s talk about the Chargers trading Philip Rivers to Tennessee for the second overall pick. When combined with the ongoing battle regarding a new football stadium for Southern California, it feels like the Chargers are approaching some sort of franchise crossroads. San Diego was one of the most up-and-down teams in the league last year, as they rolled to a 5-1 start while Rivers made his bones as a bonafide MVP candidate. Then came the fall, as the quarterback and team stumbled to a 9-7 finish, a slide that included an astoundingly ugly 37-0 road loss to the Dolphins. There is some familiarity in Tennessee for Rivers, who had Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator in 2013, and he could be catching a Tennessee team that’s on a bit of an upswing. From a Chargers perspective, San Diego is a team that has many of its fundamental elements on the plus-side of 30, including tight end Antonio Gates (35 before the start of the 2015 season) and wide receiver Malcom Floyd (who will turn 34 before the first regular-season snap this year), as well as depth questions at a number of spots including offensive and defensive line, linebacker and running back. If the Chargers do decide to deal Rivers for multiple picks (including the No. 2 selection, which would likely be Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota), it would feel a little like the team deciding to hit the reset button, a big change from where San Diego was midway through the 2014 campaign.

6. A year ago, there were several people around these parts salivating at the thought of a Rob Gronkowski-Jace Amaro tight end combo. But Amaro ended up being taken by the Jets, and maybe in retrospect, it was a wise move on the part of the Patriots to forego the Texas Tech product. In addition to an occasionally sluggish rookie season, he made headlines this week when he took some shots at ex-Jets coach Rex Ryan, saying that the 2014 Jets lacked “accountability.” Ryan fired back this week, saying that Amaro was “€œfull of (expletive)” and promising to remember that comment when the Bills face the Jets in 2015.

“Look, we weren’t perfect, and I never said we were going to be perfect,” Ryan told MMQB when asked about Amaro’s statements. “But that’s a (expletive) b.s. comment. But, hey, he’s happy that he’s got a different coach in place. We’ll see how happy he is when I play against him.”

Regardless of what you think of Rex, from this viewpoint, Amaro’s comments were out of line. For a guy who had spent 15 minutes in the league to make claims like that against a coach who is already out the door isn’t a professional move. (It was also telling that no one left in New York felt the need to publicly echo Amaro’s comments, which might tell you just how he’s viewed in the Jets locker room.) While he’ll probably have better numbers in the New York offense than he did as a rookie, he’s put a big target on his back for at least two games in 2015.

7. Change keeps coming in Pittsburgh, as veteran cornerback Ike Taylor announced this week that he will retire after a 12-year career with the Steelers. This offseason, the Pittsburgh defense has lost longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, as well as safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker Jason Worilds (retired) and cornerback Brice McCain (free agent). Taylor and Polamalu maintained a tight bond — they came into the league together in 2003, and they will leave together. It was no coincidence, according to Taylor.

“That is how we rock,” he said after making it official. “We came in, we are leaving together. That is my loyalty to that man. I said once Troy does his, I will decide. That is what I owe to Troy.”

Going forward, one of the sure things in the draft is the fact that the Pittsburgh defense, which was so poor defending the pass last year (27th overall), will seek out a corner early on. But overall, it will be interesting to see where the Steelers’ defense goes from here. It had been such a rock-steady cornerstone of the franchise for so long under LeBeau (with veteran pieces like Polamalu). Now, it’s the dawn of a new era in Pittsburgh.

8. Colt Lyerla was one of the more intriguing prospects coming out of Oregon in the spring of 2014 — the 6-foot-5, 246-pound tight end had speed, size and soft hands. But he was also toting plenty of baggage with him along the way, including multiple drug-related suspensions, which ultimately got him kicked out of school and caused a tumble from elite-level status to undrafted free agent. He eventually signed with the Packers, but a lower-body injury ended his 2014 season last summer. He was released with an injury settlement, but two weeks later, he was arrested for a DUI in Oregon, effectively ending his chances of making a roster in 2014. He popped up on the NFL radar again recently when he was seen in a video showing off a 62-inch leap, and on his Twitter feed, he promised “big things to come… #TheResurrection.” Lyerla, who was a teammate of several of the members of the Oregon team that made it to the national championship game this past season, could certainly get another shot at the NFL this time around, and is a name to watch for as personnel moves get made after the draft.

9. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson continues to hint that he’d be open to taking up baseball if his looming contractual situation isn’t remedied to his liking. While it was a good try, and a semi-logical answer to Seattle GM John’s Schenider’s ambiguous statements about the possible future of Wilson with the Seahawks, Wilson’s statement rang hollow — a negotiating ploy that has no earthly possibility of happening. Several folks weighed in on the topic over the course of the week, including Bo Jackson, who said Wilson is fooling himself if he thinks ANYONE can play both baseball and football at a high level at the same time in 2015.

“Twenty-five or 30 years ago when I did it, I’m not trying to say anything negative about other athletes, but the talent pool wasn’t that deep,” Jackson told CSNChicago when asked about Wilson’s gambit. “In this day and age, with all the high-tech training, computer-engineered workouts and the proper food and diet, if you try to concentrate on two sports, I guarantee you’re going to ride the bench in both because the talent is that deep.  Stick to whatever sport you’re comfortable with and let everything else go.”

Bottom line? Wilson should stick to football.

10. Speaking of Wilson, teams react to Super Bowl losses in different ways. When the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, several of them said the following spring they had yet to go back and watch the game, with some players indicating that they had zero interest in going back and revisiting the loss in any form or fashion, even as a potential teaching tool. On the other hand, there’s Wilson. The Seattle quarterback told HBO’s “Real Sports” that he’s watched his ill-fated pass for Ricardo Lockette — the one that was picked off by Malcolm Butler at the end of the game — a “hundred” times since that evening in the desert. Check out a portion of his interview with Bryant Gumbel, which is set to air Tuesday on HBO.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

RONALD DARBY

Position: Cornerback

School: Florida State

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 195 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-ACC third team, 2012 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year

What he brings: Darby is a very athletic cornerback who is expected to use his speed and athleticism to his advantage in coverage. Scouts think he will be able to keep up with most NFL receivers, even in more complex routes, but are concerned about his ability to match up against larger receivers. When lined up with receivers who are not too much taller than him, Darby is able to knock down 50-50 balls but sometimes struggles to hold on to passes that should be intercepted. Scouts would like to see him get stronger to help him in run defense and in press coverage.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 1-3

Notes: Darby recorded 37 tackles in 2014. He played every game for Florida State the last two seasons. Darby was the second-fastest cornerback at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. He was second in the vertical jump (41.5 inches) and seventh in the broad jump (10 feet, 9 inches).

Related articles:

NFL.com: Darby among standout corners at the combine

CBSSports.com: Darby will use athleticism to excel

Video: Here’s Darby recording three tackles against against Miami in November.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

DONOVAN SMITH

Position: Offensive tackle

School: Penn State

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 338 pounds

Achievements: 2013 All-Big Ten honorable mention

What he brings: Smith “has the size, foot quickness and the high competitive nature that translates well to the next level,” according to Dane Brugler and Rob Rang of CBS Sports. He has good leg strength and a powerful base that helps “drive the defender off the spot,” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote. His large frame certainly helps get in the way of defenders as well. However, he has does not have the athleticism to play tackle and has trouble changing direction against pass rushers. Zierlein also noted that Smith “can recognize stunts but is very slow to react to them” and that his “ability to recover when beaten is lacking.” Rang and Brugler cite his arm and hand technique as areas that need improvement before Smith can go pro.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 3-4

Notes: His overall frame and skill set could have teams moving him over to guard. At the combine Smith posted a 5.27-second 40-yard dash, 26 reps on the bench press, a 9-foot, 1-inch broad jump and a 4.79-second 20-yard shuttle. Smith graduated with a degree in criminology and “wanted to be a forensic scientist” but because science “is not [his] forte,” he pointed out that being an FBI agent or detective would be something he’d love doing.

Related articles:

KCChiefs.com: Meet the Penn State Offensive Tackle Who Wants to Make a Name for Himself

PennLive.com: Penn State and the NFL scouting combine: Is tackle Donovan Smith a second-round draft pick?

Video: Here is a video of Smith at 2014 media day before the start of Penn State’s most recent season.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Rashad Greene (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Rashad Greene is Florida State’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yardage. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

RASHAD GREENE

Position: Wide receiver

School: Florida State

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 180 pounds

Achievements: AP All-America second team, 2014 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist as nation’s best wide receiver, 2014 All-ACC first team, 2013 All-ACC first team, 2012 All-ACC honorable mention

What he brings: Greene has great speed and is praised for being able to make defenders miss and gain some extra yards after the catch. The main concern among scouts is his thin frame, which could cause durability issues in the NFL. Experts want to see more physicality with blocks and fighting for 50-50 balls. He has experience both as a wideout and a slot receiver.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Greene had a school-record 99 receptions in 2014 for 1,365 yards and seven touchdowns. He leaves Florida State as the Seminoles’ career leader in receptions (270) and receiving yards (3,830). At the scouting combine he posted 4.53-second 40, a 36.5-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump, a 6.88-second three-cone drill and a 4.12-second 20-yard shuttle. None of those scores ranked among the leaders at his position.

Related articles:

Fox Sports: Greene’s combine diary

SI.com: Greene FSU career overview

Video: Here’s Greene catching eight passes for 137 yards and a touchdown against NC State in 2013.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

LEONARD WILLIAMS

Position: Defensive tackle

School: USC

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 302 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America first team (AFCA, ESPN), 2014 All-Pac-12 first team, 2014 USC Most Valuable Player, 2014 Hendricks Award finalist for best defensive end in the country, 2013 All-America first team (ESPN), 2013 USC Defensive Lineman of the Year, 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year

What he brings: Williams is an impressive talent who is projected to go top three in the draft. According to Dane Brugler and Rob Rang of CBS Sports, the 6-foot-5 Williams boasts “a rare combination of size, easy athleticism and raw power to go along with a passion for the game.” He has long arms and good flexibility and balance. Williams is big, powerful and “has the look and feel of the biggest, strongest kid on the playground but hasn’t figured out how to unlock his natural gifts and consistently dominate the rest of the kids on the playground just yet,” wrote Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1

Notes: Williams, a USC captain, played through the 2014 season with an ankle injury and still managed to earn all of the above accolades. He also underwent shoulder surgery during last year’s offseason. In his career at USC, Williams had 138 tackles, 27 for losses, with 14 sacks, four deflections, three fumble recoveries and one interception. At the combine, Williams ran a 4.97 second 40-yard dash, posted an 8-foot-, 10-inch inch broad jump and recorded a 4.53 second 20-yard shuttle.

Related articles:

Washington Post: A closer look at NFL draft prospect Leonard Williams

Yahoo Sports: Greg Cosell’s Draft Preview: Leonard Williams has talent, and questions

ESPN: Versatile Leonard Williams could be NFL’s next great defensive lineman 

Video: Here is a video of Williams’ highlights.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

Let’s face it — Tom Brady could post a half-million videos of him jumping off cliffs or Photoshopping his body into a full cast as an April Fools prank, but he’d never be able to come up with something like this. Julian Edelman just changed the social media game in the Patriots locker room with this little number.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

XAVIER COOPER

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Washington State

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 293 pounds

Achievements: 2014 WSU Defensive Lineman of the Year, 2013 WSU Tim Petek Award for strongest man, 2012 All-Pac 12 honorable mention

What he brings: Cooper has “outstanding foot quickness and an ability to pursue in space,” wrote Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. He barely ever gives offensive linemen a still target, and “it’s hard to land a solid, sustained punch on him.” He is good at timing the snap and can sync the quickness of his hands with that of his feet for “early wins along the line of scrimmage.” Cooper has shorter limbs for his size and he doesn’t have “pure power at the point of attack.” If he doesn’t win with his hands, Zierlein wrote, he gets pushed off the spot.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: Cooper sat out his first season so that he could make sure his academics were in order, while in 2012 he had 34 tackles, with 8.5 for loss, and three sacks. He got even better in 2013, making 50 tackles, 13.5 for loss with five sacks, and in 2014, he made 37 tackles, 9.5 for loss and had five sacks. At the scouting combine Cooper ran a 4.86-second 40-yard dash, had 29 reps on the bench press, posted a 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump and ran a 4.37-second 20-yard shuttle.

Related articles:

Dallas Morning News: Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State

Seahawks.com: Tacoma native, Washington State standout Xavier Cooper: ‘Hard work has got me here’

Fox Sports: NFL Draft Diary: Washington State DT Xavier Cooper tracks path to NFL

Video: Here is a closer look at Cooper, courtesy Washington State.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

Eric Kendricks (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who led all FBS teams with 149 tackles in 2014, owns UCLA’s records for single-season and career tackles. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

ERIC KENDRICKS

Position: Inside linebacker

School: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 230 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America second team, 2014 Butkus Award for best linebacker, 2014 Lott IMPACT Trophy for defensive player of the year, 2014 All-Pac-12 second team, 2013 All-Pac-12 honorable mention, 2012 All-Pac-12 honorable mention

What he brings: Kendricks has been one of the top tacklers in the nation for several years, and scouts are impressed with his ability to finish tackles. He is considered to be a good man-to-man defender, as well as very aggressive, which helps him attack the run but can also catch him out of position. There are concerns that he may be small for an inside linebacker and have trouble outmuscling blockers, but he has been able to use his agility to get around defenders. Scouts also note that he needs work as a blitzer.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-3

Notes: Kendricks finished the 2014 season with an FBS-leading 149 tackles to go along with two sacks and three interceptions. He holds the UCLA record for tackles in a single season (150 in 2012) and career (481). He was named Defensive MVP of the 2015 Alamo Bowl after recording 10 tackles (three for loss) and helping the Bruins beat Kansas State, 40-35. His father, Marvin, was a running back at UCLA in the early 1970s and played in the Canadian Football League. His brother, Mychal, is a linebacker for the Eagles who was drafted in the second round out of California in 2012. At the scouting combine he ran the 40 in 4.61 seconds, put up 19 reps in the bench press, reached 38 inches in the vertical jump and leaped 10 feet, 4 inches in the broad jump.

Related articles:

Philadelphia Magazine: Kendricks brothers compared

SB Nation: Kendricks looks forward to joining brother in NFL

Video: Here are highlights from Kendricks’ 2014 season.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.

IFO EKPRE-OLOMU

Position: Cornerback

School: Oregon

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 185 pounds

Achievements: 2014 All-America first team, 2014 All-Pac-12 first team, 2014 Thorpe Award finalist for best defensive back, 2013 All-Pac-12 first team, 2012 All-Pac-12 first team

What he brings: Ekpre-Olomu is expected to be a great cover corner in the NFL. He is considered to be above average in both man and zone coverage. There are concerns about his short frame, but he is able to be efficient when defending contested balls. Scouts consider him a physical defender who is aggressive in run defense, and runners are rarely able to break tackles once Ekpre-Olomu wraps them up. One of the main concerns with his game is that he might be too physical when the ball is in the air, leading to unwanted pass interference and illegal contact penalties.

Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 2-4

Notes: He recorded 63 tackles and two interceptions in 2014. He tore his ACL while preparing for the Rose Bowl and had surgery in December, which has made him unavailable to work out for teams prior to the draft. He likely would be ranked higher on many draft boards if he were healthy.

Related articles:

The Oregonian: Ekpre-Olomu discusses injury, targeted September return

CBSSports.com: Ekpre-Olomu on working out while injured during Oregon pro day

Video: Here’s Ekpre-Olomu recording five tackles, an interception and a pass defended against Washington State in 2013.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler