Scout Sightings: Patriots Eyeing "The U?"

Scouts were out in force last week, and what they saw on the college gridiron will have an impact on next year's Draft. James Christensen tells us more about who the Patriots were looking at and how they might help the team in the future.

The only confirmed sighting of the Patriots scouting department this week was at the Miami/Pittsburgh affair on Thursday night. There were a plethora of prospects to ponder, but perhaps the most intriguing one for Patriots fans, DE/OLB Greg Romeus, was out with an injury.

Romeus (6-6/270) had back surgery last week, and is expected to miss a month or more.

Even though we were disappointed to not see Romeus in action again, there is another Pitt prospect on the opposite side of the ball that seems to be a good fit in 2011 for New England - junior wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin ( Scouting Report ).

Thursday wasn't a huge night for Baldwin, as he only caught three balls for a total of 26 yards. That said, his quarterback and offensive line were woefully overmatched, making it tough to get a true read on Baldwin's play.

The 6'5", 225 pound Baldwin has the jump-ball ability of a former star Pittsburgh receiver, one Larry Fitzgerald. His size, strength, and leaping ability allows a quarterback to throw to Baldwin even when he is covered.

He does need to work on getting in and out of his breaks while keeping his speed, which leads to some separation issues at times. Some quality coaching and technique drills should be able to clean that up at the next level.

With Randy Moss possibly on his way out of New England, Baldwin is a player that possesses some of the same qualities that makes Moss so valuable to the Patriots. He won't make it out of the 1st round.

We've touched on Miami DE Allen Bailey ( Scouting Report ) before, but the blue chip 5-tech prospect is worth mentioning again. He was very disruptive in the Pittsburgh backfield, although we feel that he sits out way too many plays for his level of talent.

We're not downgrading on account of this now, but his ability to play 60 minutes of football for a 16, and possibly 18-game season, is cause for concern.

Miami cornerback Brandon Harris is a Belichick-type player. He is able to do many things well, while perhaps not being elite at any one skill. He can contribute in nearly any situation, be it zone or man, playing nickel or wide, and even in run support.

His reputation of being very coach-able and in love with football would also make him a good fit for the Patriots, who despite many draft picks, still have needs in the secondary.

Harris was a large part of the Hurricanes whooping of the Panthers, helping to hold Pitt to just over 100 yards of passing in their 31-3 win.

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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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