Scout Sightings: Is Offense On Their Mind?

The Patriots scouting department was busy again last week taking a look at talent available in next year's Draft. Who are they looking at, and what did they see? NFL Draft expert James Christensen breaks it all down for you.

PHOTO: Clint Boling of Georgia:
(Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)


Scouts for the New England Patriots were busy again this weekend, with Chris Steuber of NFL Draft Scout confirming the presence of scouts at three games this weekend: USC vs Minnesota, Arkansas vs Georgia, and Baylor vs TCU.

The focus for the scouts would seem to be on the offensive line prospects, as there is a top prospect at that position in each of the three games. That would certainly jive with the current Patriots depth chart, as Matt Light and Stephen Neal are certainly not getting any younger.

Two highly-touted prospects were on display in the Razorback/Bulldog SEC slugfest. Demarcus Love of Arkansas and Clint Boling of Georgia are both guys with Top 100 consideration.

Boling ( Scouting Report ) showed off some versatility during the game, playing LT, RT, and RG. As we've mentioned before, we think Boling will be a guard in the NFL, and Saturday's game was a good example of that.

Boling looked a little slow on the edge, but was dominant when he kicked inside during the 2nd quarter. Boling kept defenders away from his body, neutralizing their attacks with a strong punch and solid leverage.

The Bulldogs had Boling pull on occasion, where he was able to show some quality footwork. Boling also impressed when the Razorbacks blitzed, twice chipping safeties while holding a defensive lineman at bay.

As impressed as we were with Boling, Demarcus Love was that disappointing. The only versatility he showed on Saturday was the ability to play both RT and LT poorly.

Love was off-balance on multiple occasions against the Bulldogs, pushed onto his heels and stepping over himself. Along with missing a couple of blitzes and blocking air, it was not Love's day.

Boling is a 2nd day prospect for us in the 2011 NFL Draft, while Love should last until day three.

Even with the turmoil surrounding the USC program, the Trojans offer some interesting NFL prospects on each side of the ball. Unfortunately, Minnesota isn't a program that provides a ton of competition, although they stuck with USC for quite a while.

Tyron Smith is a 3rd-year Junior who has shown some nice development at the OT position. We love his balance against both the run and pass, as well as his solid fundamentals.

Although Smith played at RT against Minnesota, he has the feet and skills to play the LT position as well.

Smith was very fluid against the Gophers, showing that he has the ability to make all the blocks. He got to the second level and was able to effectively simulate play action.

Kristofer O'Dowd is a legitimate NFL center that does certain things at an elite level. He can dominate linebackers, using his quickness to to position himself perfectly. That said, we question his ability to get a push on NFL DT's.

A screen-heavy team that has great guards, such as a Patriots team with a Mankins and Neal, could use O'Dowd very effectively.
Smith and O'Dowd will be late 2nd or early 3rd day prospects that a team can develop for a year or two.

Senior running back Allen Bradford also had a nice day for the Trojans, gaining 131 yards and a TD on 12 carries. Bradford is an elusive runner that could be a late-round option for a team that needs depth at RB.

Along with the offensive line, the outside linebacker corps is certainly in need of future attention, as the Patriots only have three OLB's on their active roster. They might keep have to keep looking if TCU DE Wayne Daniels was their target on Saturday, as he was less than impressive.

Daniels was thoroughly dominated by Baylor LT Danny Watkins. Daniels will need to step up the diversity of his rush moves and strengthen both his upper and lower body to compete at the next level.

Watkins, however, looks to have a future in the NFL, perhaps earning a high day three pick by the end of the year.


Draft Talk


James Christensen's scouting updates will appear here on PatriotsInsider.com throughout the year. James is the publisher of NEPatriotsDraft.com, an independent website dedicated to covering the NFL Draft and college prospects with professional potential.

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