I didn’t have time to convert all of my hand-written notes into sketches or reports this year, so I focused mostly on players I was confident would be going pretty high on draft day. Here are the notes I wrote about the players New England has picked so far!
WR Tyquan Thornton, Baylor
Relatively tall, long-limbed receiver who has simple, efficient releases with his feet at te line and uses his hands well. Has legitimate speed which opens up opportunities for him to break off routes at the intermediate level. Route tree was very basic but shows some snap at the route stem. Catches away from his frame. Very nice tracking/adjustments to throws downfield. Shows good body control and sideline awareness. May struggle to get off the line against physical pro defensive backs. Gets swallowed by physical coverage and struggles to stack defenders on deep routes. Has trouble working through congestion and shielding defenders. Lacks physicality after the catch. Poor blocker with wide hands, iffy effort, and balance/positioning issues. Probably more of a third-day pick.
OG Cole Strange, Chattanooga
College left guard who was asked to handle some difficult assignments in school. Has the athleticism to execute pull blocks or get out in space and lead in the way in the screen game. Was also asked to pull in pass pro. Chippy player who works hard through the whistle and plays with some nastiness. Impressive contact balance. Needs to be more consistent with his hand placement. Wins too many of his reps late after being overwhelmed early. Not much of a knee-bender; plays pretty upright. Struggles to stay connected at times. Will occasionally lower his head into contact. Anchors early at the line against power, with a sufficiently-wide base. Punch comes on time. Keeps his head on a swivel in pass pro and likes to help out. Overall athleticism is much more impressive than his understanding of positioning at this point. Looks like an interesting gap blocker who could find his way into the second day after nice pre-draft workouts.
CB Marcus Jones, Houston
Undersized corner who played a lot of off-zone from the boundary but will work from the slot in the pros. Pretty quick feet and decent technique on his backpedal. Good athlete with nice transitions to planting and driving on a spot, closing fast. Solid reaction times to breaking routes. Fast enough to carry opponents down the sidelines. Flips hips very well. Really struggles to process route combinations from zone; out of position often during the games reviewed. Looks like he had several communication issues. Grabby at the route stem. Can be boxed out by opponents. Gets engulfed by blockers. Turns down opportunities to play with physicality when other defenders are in the area. Has big-time value as a return specialist. Looks like a mid-rounder.