Members of the Patriots scouting department were at Auburn throughout the week, watching a couple of highly touted prospects.
Nick Fairley, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound, defensive lineman, has really come on this junior season. When he chooses to give it his all, he has proven nearly unstoppable. His 18 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, and 15-plus pressures certainly show his knack for creating havoc from the inside of the Auburn defense, however, a move to the outside might be in the making in the NFL.
Fairley would seem to be an ideal fit at the 3-4 defensive end position, playing the 5-technique position like another SEC lineman that came through New England - Richard Seymour.
Auburn All-World QB Cam Newton was certainly another player garnering attention, although we'll refrain from speculating on him until he shows up to the combine. Newton is such a unique athlete and talent, that we have trouble projecting at this point where he will try and play at the next level.
The Big-10 matchup that Patriot scouts took in this week was the Hawkeye - Hoosier battle in Indiana.
Some talented mid-round receivers were on display for both the Iowa and Indiana teams, while the usual suspects on defense for Iowa didn't have their best day. Luckily for Adrian Clayborn ( scouting report ) and Christian Ballard, Patriot scouts have been around to visit them before. Mike Daniels, however, continues to make a name for himself.
Clayborn is more of a traditional 4-3 DE that loves to get after the passer, sometimes at the expense of the run. He was stuffed for the majority of the day, notching only two tackles. This marks the second week in a row that Clayborn has been held without a TFL or sack. While he is certainly getting a lot of attention this year from offensive linemen, his stock seems to be dropping.
While Ballard isn't a stat-stuffer by any means, his lack of production is a concern for those who see him as a legitimate top 50 3-4 DE.
|Tandon Doss, of Indiana|
Darrell Johnson-Koulianos, or DJK ( scouting report ), of the Hawkeyes is a Troy Brown-esque receiver that has a knack for getting open and making big plays. He has led Iowa in receiving for four straight years and will benefit from working in a pro-style offense.
While DJK had a decent game, Tandon Doss of Indiana was the star of the day. Doss showed explosive ability after the catch and solid route-running.
Both players seem to duplicate a lot of what the Patriots already have on their rosters, although the Patriots are always looking to add reliable receivers to their arsenal.
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.