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Patriots Ones to Watch at the 2024 Senior Bowl

As we speak, the first set of Senior Bowl drills are taking place, and one of the best pre-draft dates on the calendar is officially off and running. Although your top prospects like Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr, Brock Bowers, etc, aren't here, largely because they aren't...well...seniors, but this is a great way to get familiarized with guys down the lineup of this draft. So with that in mind, here are five guys at three position groups I think the Patriots should attack come draft weekend, perhaps not right away with quarterback at the top of the grocery list, but perhaps later on.

  • No Quarterback, Cornerback, or EDGE because I don't think they draft any of the QBs here, and they're more likely to address things off the edge and on the backend (depth-wise) through the open market.

Patriots Prospects to Watch at the 2024 Senior Bowl

Wide Receiver

Xavier Legette (South Carolina), Tez Walker (UNC by way of Kent State), Ricky Pearsall (Florida), Johnny Wilson (Florida State), Ryan Flournoy (Southeast Missouri)

The guy who jumps out here right away is Flournoy, who hails out of Southeast Missouri from the FCS's Ohio Valley Conference. The microsecond he got added to the Senior Bowl, he got a lot of notable praise, and after doing some light research, I'm fascinated to see how he looks. He has game experience against FBS schools (Iowa State and Kansas State), but this is a big final test with most of the football world getting a birds-eye view. Flournoy, from what I've seen, has great mits, speed, inside-outside versatility, and good jump ball skills. On a final note, there are two Patriots Southeast Missouri connections, Dan Connolly and Kristian Wilkerson.

As for the others, Leggette and Tez Walker should both be in consideration for the Patriots' second-round pick at this point. A friend of mine described the South Carolina product as "everything we hoped Quentin Johnston would be." I interpret that as being a physical freak with great speed, but unlike Johnston, can climb the ladder and battle for contested passes, a big problem for Johnston at TCU and in his rookie year with the Chargers. As for Walker, he was Drake Maye's go-to guy this year after some NCAA shenanigans after transferring from Kent State. He's a bit shorter than expected, but he's as good a separator as anyone in this class and has the third-best contested catch rate of any of his peers from 2023.

Onto the two Florida school products, you can't teach height, and officially 6'6, Johnny Wilson uses every bit of that to his advantage. Although he wasn't a high-level contributor with the 'Noles, he's more than just a big body, as he's a pretty good route runner for his size and has a good release package. Pearsall, meanwhile, is a guy who I've seen get the 'Squidward pointing down from the rafters Patriot' meme treatment a few times already. I've heard good things about his game on the whole, but it's worth noting he's only 193 lbs. I'm interested to see how he does in the 1-on-1 drills against press man with that in mind.

Offensive Tackle

Tyler Guyton (Oklahoma), Patrick Paul (U. of Houston), LaDarius Henderson (Michigan by way of Arizona State), Roger Rosengarten (Washington), Kingsley Suamatia (BYU)

Tackle is another spot where the Patriots could use their second-round pick, and two guys who could potentially be there are Guyton and Paul, two absolute behemoths at 6'7 and over 325 lbs a pop. Both guys would be prime candidates to replace Trent Brown, assuming he's on the way out. Of the two, Paul is more likely to slip out of the top 32. I could see Guyton testing his way into the top 20 if things go well enough.

Of the other three names, the one who I'm really interested to know better is Michigan's LaDarius Henderson. Ironic as it sounds, he'd make a ton of sense as a Mike Onwenu replacement at either spot on the right side of the line, assuming Jeremy Fowler's report on him comes to pass. He has experience at 4-of-5 spots on the line but spent 2023 at left tackle. The size profile is similar to Onwenu, but Henderson has a 100th percentile wingspan of 85 inches on the dot. Keep an eye out for the National Champion this week.

Interior Defensive Line

Keith Randolph Jr (Illinois), Gabe Hall (Baylor), Darius Robinson (Missouri), Jordan Jefferson (LSU by way of West Virginia), Eric Watts (UConn)

For better or worse, my mind goes immediately to Kirby Smart's secondhand story of how Bill Belichick likes to scout defensive linemen at the combine ever since I first saw the clip. So, with that in mind, if the philosophy is still the same and the Patriots want some wide/rotund boys up front, they don't come much wider than Jordan Jefferson out of LSU (not to be confused by the old LSU quarterback of the same name from over a decade ago). Clocking in at 6'2 and 323 lbs, he'd make some sense as an early day three tackle with the ability to play nose tackle and 3-tech from the bits I've seen.

Now, if the Patriots were to be in the market for a pure physical specimen for the defensive trenches, Gabe Hall and Eric Watts could be interesting options. Both are currently projected late-round guys at under 300 lbs, but carry 84-plus-inch wingspans and stand at 6'5. These two feel like the exact kind of guys to take dartboard throws on in the seventh round if available. My biggest question would be how is the playing strength against All-Star level competition.

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